The market is constrained by the fact that the most popular services - MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, and AOL's AIM and ICQ - generally do not allow users to send messages to those on rival services.
Google hopes to change that by basing its software on emerging internet standards and by making the program interface available to third-party software developers.
This will allow some existing instant messenger software to work with Google, so Google Talk users will not be forced to use Google's software to send messages.
Google's recent desktop search was exceptionally rich with features. Google Talk could not look like much more of a modest program. It's interface is rather spartan, and sorta reminds me of an Ipod. I think the reasons for the exceptionally modest / plain design are:
- Google wanted to keep it simple such that they really push the free voice service that goes along with it. (I wonder what the people at Skype are thinking right now?)
- Google wants to encourage / train their users to make the system they want to use.
To get some of the features you need to have a Gmail account. Some people are added without you adding them because you have emailed back and forth in the past.
Some people with different groups of friend sets and business partners might find the feature set a bit lacking, but I think they just wanted a simple clean launch from which they could collect user feedback.
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