You've Got Trouble
You've Got Trouble
By Sam Gustin
INSTANT RIVAL: Google's new instant messaging service is drawing a bead on industry leader AOL instant messenger.
August 24, 2005 -- Opening up a new front in the war for Internet supremacy, search king Google is unleashing an instant messaging service to directly compete with its fiercest rivals, Microsoft and Yahoo!, as well as IM leader AOL, Google confirmed yesterday.
The move represents an escalation in the fierce battle for control over the next generation of Internet-based products, from search to e-mail, and now, to instant messaging. After watching Microsoft and Yahoo! encroach on its search dominance, Google is striking back forcefully on the instant messaging front.
"Google Talk" will allow users to speak to each other through a voice-over-IP connection as well as send traditional type-based instant messages, according to Georges Harik, Google's director of product management. Starting today, users can download the Google Talk client and use their Gmail addresses to login. The service, which Harik said will be based on the open standard XMPP protocol, is an ambitious attempt to show that the company is serious about open source software.
"We're putting our money where our mouth is," Harik told The Post. "Our goal is an open instant messaging network that works like the phone system or e-mail network where anyone can talk to anyone."
Ken Marlin of Marlin and Associates said, "I think this is just fabulous. Google has been a master of thinking outside the boxes that people want to put them in. This moves them more directly into competition with Microsoft and AOL."
Marlin said Internet users "want to label" Google as just a search engine, but that the company is "more than that." The company, he said, "wants to redefine the way people use their desktop PCs."
Harik said that the company is focused on "interoperability," which has traditionally bedeviled instant messaging. He said that Google would love it if users could access Google Talk using AOL Instant Messenger or Yahoo! Messenger, but that as of now those companies are keeping their services proprietary.
Harik said that regardless of what its competitors do, Google will lead the charge on open-standard communications tools.
"If they don't do it, we will," he said.
The new service is just the latest new product unveiled from the Internet search leader. Earlier this week, the company released a new version of Google Desktop — which allows users to monitor e-mail, RSS feeds and news headlines without opening a browser — in a direct attack on Microsoft's dominant Internet Explorer.