Modestly appointed, but the price is right
Google has released a beta version of Google Talk, a text and voice instant messenger application. Still in its infancy, the program is very light on features, offering text and voice messaging and little else. Frankly, I hope it remains this way, rather than adding dozens of non-messaging features ala MSN Messenger.
Google Talk is compatible with any Jabber-based IM, meaning that you can communicate (via text only at this time) with Mac and Linux friends who use Apple’s iChat, GAIM or Psi.
Currently, voice chat is possible only if both parties are using Google Chat. Reportedly, this function works well even on a 56k connection.
Your contact list is populated by your Gmail address book. Google Talk requires a Gmail username and password to login. Inviting a contact from your Gmail address book who does not have a Gmail account will result in that person being offered one of your Gmail invites.
The program is free of any ads, at the moment. Here’s hoping it will stay that way. It does not currently encrypt text or voice messages, but Google claims that the release version will.
You are prompted to uninstall Gmail Notifier during installation, as that functionality is replaced by Google Talk.