This week Google has launched its new Instant Messenger (IM) & Voice Chat service. Other companies offer similar services i.e. Microsoft, Yahoo, ICQ. If you already have an IM service why change?
I have been considering a switch to Linux for a while yet most of my contacts use MSN Messenger. Microsoft keep the protocol behind its messenger restricted, as a result other clients using the protocol lack all the features of the Microsoft client application. This is true for most of the other IM networks.
Google Talk however is different, it is based on the Jabber/XMPP protocol. This is an open standard. But what does this mean? Well it allows people who write chat programs to fully support the features enabled by the protocol. This means Windows/Mac/Linux users can all have the same features. The possibility of numerous client applications means if one does something you don't like, e.g. it doesn't organise your contact list, you can use another client that does.
Currently the Google Talk client for Windows is at a Beta status. A software Beta means it is not fully finished and is a preview of the final version but may include a few bugs. It lacks emoticon support but, other clients do. The only thing that other clients are lacking at the moment is the voice chat functionality. However it was only released this week. Within the next few days/weeks expect other clients to be supporting this.
Back to the Question Why change networks? Well personaly I don't want an IM to be tied to my operating system, that rules out MSN Messenger. I could go to ICQ but there are alot of spam messages on the network. AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), the less said about an AOL based service the better. Yahoo Messenger, well I don't have any contacts on there at the moment nor do i use Yahoo services regularly. There are other smaller services but its best to go with a high profile network which is likely to attract your contacts. Google Talk, I already have a GMail account, Google is my main search engine and they are innovating new services all the time. Google Talk provides a service I want on the multiple platforms I intend to use.
At very least I'm going to give Google Talk a chance. I recommend you do too. Get it now from http://www.google.com/talk