Google Talk is an instant messaging program that offers text and voice chat through a very simplistic, clean and user friendly interface. Much like the Yahoo Messenger and Yahoo Mail, Google Talk works hand in hand with Gmail and other Google applications. The latest version of Google Talk is currently in the beta stage of development, but that doesn’t stop the continuous growth of the Google Talk user base.
Installation & Requirements
Google Talk offers a clean installation process, with no additional adware or 3rd party software needed. However Google Talk only offers text and voice chat at first, a plug-in being mandatory in order to use the video chat function.
As far as system requirements go, Google Talk only supports Windows XP and later versions, but at the same time the video chat plug-in works independent of Google Talk and it’s supported not only by the Windows platform but Mac OS x 10.4 or higher and Linux altogether. On short, you cannot use Google Talk on Mac or Linux, but you can use its video chat plug-in in order to use the web-chat function.
The Google Talk user interface is as simple and clear as it gets. There’s nothing much to see or tweak and the main window is just a plain white background with a few options here and there. The Settings panel is also very simple and barely offers any settings to be changed. Even so, it’s easy to notice that nothing vital is missing and although there are not many options and settings at your disposal, Google Talk is a highly functional instant messaging software.
If you’re looking to customize your user interface there are quite a few themes to choose from, however these themes will not change the overall appearance but only the way your text is shown in the chat window.
Google Talk also offers lots of significant features like Voicemail, Group chat and the possibility to embed Google Talk into a website.
- Lightweight and low on resources
- Simple user interface
- Perfect compatibility with Gmail and other Google applications
- Easy to install and use
- Can be easily embedded into websites
- Video chat is not included and needs a separate plug-in
- Available only for Windows and some Android devices
- Doesn’t have too many customization options
Google Talk Alternatives
Although Google Talk might be loved by some, it might not offer what others are looking for. In this case there are quite a few alternatives to Google Talk, such as Skype and Yahoo Messenger, two of the most portable instant messaging software available.
Skype is a free VoIP software that is available on almost every worldly device that benefits from a display and internet connection, including PC, Mac, Linux, Android Java, Blackberry S60, iPhone and iPad. Besides the free text, voice and web chat, Skype also offers the possibility to make both national and international calls on land or mobile phones, for a fee of course.
Yahoo Messenger is another Google Talk alternative, offering text, voice and web chat altogether without the need of a plug-in. It integrates perfectly with Yahoo Mail so it’s a better choice for those who prefer the Yahoo mailing services instead of the ones offered by Gmail. Just like Skype, Yahoo Messenger is available on multiple platforms including Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry.
Google Talk is a functional and light-weight IM client that suits those who prefer using Gmail and other Google applications. It’s simple and easy to use but it also lacks some features that other popular messenger programs offer. As it relies mainly on simplicity and ease of use, Google Talk is the perfect choice for people that appreciate having instant messaging capabilities and nothing more.