There have been many comparisons of the various messaging clients available
today: Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger
and hybrid ones as well, such as Trillian. These studies usually do a
good job at comparing the features offered by these clients, but for some
strange reason, I have yet to find one that really nails the one thing that
makes the difference for me with Google Talk: presence ubiquity.
Throughout the day, I typically move between three or four different PC’s
(work, laptop, home, etc…) and this particular feature means that not only do
I not need to log on constantly, it also means that I can start a conversation
home and finish it at work without having to do anything. The logic behind
the message broadcasts is sometimes a bit mysterious, but it works most of the
time and is a joy for computer vagabonds like myself.
Since no article ever mentioned this feature, I am guessing
my situation is pretty unusual, but since it’s the only one that only exists in
Google Talk, I am stunned that it hasn’t been emulated by any other client.
Having said that, I do agree that Google Talk is very
austere and I have to confess an unending fondness for Yahoo’s cute smileys, but
presence ubiquity is the main reason why my Friends List on Google Talk
keeps getting bigger why my Yahoo’s Buddy List has been stagnant for over a year
now. People who need to reach me now know that Google Talk is the first
client to try. If they don’t know where I am, Google Talk certainly does.
Of course, the fact that Yahoo keeps
nagging me about
upgrading without giving me a chance to opt out and that it will change my
home page if I’m not careful during the installation doesn’t help.
It could be worse, though: you could install AOL Instant Messenger and
spend the next ten minutes hunting down and killing all the "Free AOL" shortcuts
that suddenly pop up in unexpected places on your desktop. I
hear their latest experimental version, codenamed Triton, goes even further and
changes your home page, installs Plaxo, a toolbar and a modified full-screen version of IE that
lands on their page. Oh and you can’t refuse the installation of this
software: you will need to uninstall it by hand later.
That’s clearly not "not evil".
I feel some comfort thinking that Google Talk uses open standards and doesn’t
come with any additional baggage, but I wouldn’t mind if it added some of the
bells and whistles found in its competitors. How about them smileys for a start,