The InterWeb is all abuzz with Google Talk chatter. While we probably didn't really need a Yet Another Chat Client (YACC), Google Talk (or Gtalk as the kids are calling it) is free, based on open technology and the few hours we spent playing with it last night proved that it works. Can't ask for much more than that. Or can I? Of course I can!
The service and accompanying website only rolled out last night, but already I'm finding things that should be present, but aren't. The Help section on the Google Talk page, for example, refers to numerous pages that say nothing other than
Document Not Found
Sorry, the document you requested is not available. You can return to the referring page.
I'll cut them some slack on that, though. Even Google deserves a few days to get their act together. It's still Beta, afterall.
Since there's no Mac client, those of us at TUAW and many of our colleagues across the Weblogs, Inc. network were firing up iChat last night in order to test drive talk.google.com. With the exception of a bizarre half hour where I was demonically possessed, the account setup went smoothly and within mere seconds of inputting the proper settings, I was talking to friends and family who had gmail.com email addresses.
That's my first gripe - as Mac user without a standalone Google Talk client, I was at the mercy of knowing someone's gmail address in order to connect with them, or having to look it up in one of my many address books. The Windows-only Google Talk client has a built-in search engine that culls from your existing Gmail address book. There is no such search engine in iChat, obviously. While I know that Google can't dictate how third-party applications are built and how well those clients interact with their own service, I'm baffled as to why they - once again - released a new service without a Mac-compatible client. The glut of Mac-based chat clients proves that it can't be all that hard to do. I expect more from Google. After all, they pride themselves on not being evil, right?
If I'm stuck using iChat (which I use all day anyway, so it's no big deal), here are a few features I'd like to have:
(more after the jump)