Possible Rationale for Google Talk Labs Edition

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Google Blogoscoped’s post about Google Talk Labs Edition just came out early this morning, and it had an interesting idea in it. Philipp thinks Google might actually be using the new client as a desktop wrapper for the existing Google Talk Gadget, removing one version of the client that needs to be maintained while still providing a desktop feel for those users who want it.

Philipp, your idea is very intriguing to me. In and of itself, it is quite insightful; the ramifications of it if true, though, wouldn’t make me happy. :-/

I have been hoping that Google would release an updated client including group chat and emoticons. I was also hoping that it would keep all the current features, which it appears not to have done. File transfer and voice chat are gone from the Labs client, though there is an entry in the FAQ for the new edition that says:

Some features from the original Google Talk client are missing. What happened to them?

Google Talk, Labs Edition is an experimental release that brings some of the great features of the Google Talk Gadget to the desktop. Some features like voice calling and file transfer from the Google Talk client did not make it into this version. If you need to use voice calling or file transfer, you can download the original Google Talk client here: http://www.google.com/talk

So perhaps they will come back in a later version, hopefully along with their debut in the Web-based interfaces. Having the Gadget support voice chat should be simple enough (it’s Flash-based, and Flash supports microphone/camera input), and Gmail could build on that if Google writes a library for the voice chat instead of just compiling it into the Gadget. File transfer could be a little harder; but come on, this is Google we’re talking about! (Besides, I’m not a Flash developer, so I don’t know all the tricks that are possible. 🙂

What we have is an idea, from someone unconnected with Google. The coming weeks and months should provide us with an answer as to whether or not it is accurate. I hope not (sorry, Philipp)!


I am an avid technology and software user, in addition to being reasonably well-versed in CSS, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, Python, and (though it still scares me) Perl. Aside from my technological tendencies, I am also a theatre technician, sound designer, violinist, singer, and actor.

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