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Google Talk Review

August 24th, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

Google Talk

So I download the new Google Talk instant message app today and so far I’m very impressed.

First impressions

The Good:

– The systray-based “toaster” pop-ups for new messages in the background (or while minimized) is very cool.

– Single clicking on the top of a chat window turns toggles a winshade mode. Handy for saving desktop space.

– Includes Gmail checking. The Google Talk install even asked if I’d like to uninstall the Gmail Notifier already on my computer. Good thinking there. Makes me wonder if they’ll update the Gmail Notifier in the future or if this will be your only choice.

– Doesn’t seem to affect any third party Gmail services (like the FireFox extension checker that I use).

– Per the Google usual, the interface is minimal and very easy to use. Windows dock nicely against each other, and if you have several chat windows docked together the program automatically adjusts the winshade mode to work within the same space it’s already using.

– Contact status indicator directly beneath their name in the title bar of the chat window. Very cool.

– As of now, you don’t even need to run the official Google Talk application to use the service. Just add talk.google.com to your Jabber-enabled IM client and login with your Gmail user/password.

The Bad:

– You cannot change your status via a right-click on the systray icon, only through the main contact list window.

– “Toaster” pop-ups for new Gmail messages in your Inbox seem to be persistent and do not go away until you right-click on them. This should have a definable time limit in the application settings.

– I’m sure the AIM fans out there will want customizable fonts, font sizes, and font backgrounds eventually. Honestly, I hope they leave it out. I haven’t changed my IM font in years, and I’m tired of trying to read pink-on-burgundy typing. You might as well go the Master Shake route and make it black text on a black background. Listed here only because it’s a feature found in all other IM applications.

– The tray icon doesn’t change at all as events occur. It’d be nice if it somehow changed color or appearance to indicate new Inbox messages and other common events like chatting or incoming calls.

The VERY Ugly:

– Ever since I’ve used Gmail I’ve loved how it was built with FireFox in mind. This being said, I was shocked at how badly it performed when I actually tried to view a new Gmail message through the application. It loaded the message in a non-standard Gmail window and when I clicked the Inbox link on the page it crashed my browser. Thank God for sessionsaver.

I don’t have a mic or headset to connect to my laptop so I haven’t had a chance to try out the voice call functionality, but I’ll post another round of comments after I’ve been running it for a while.

You can reach me on Google Talk at jasonrallen [at] gmail.com.

Happy chatting!

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