Google’s latest beta service, Google Talk is the talk of the town. A quick search on Google News returns several hundred items published in the past 24 hours about Google’s new instant messaging (IM) and voice chat service.
But once you get passed the hype and the media frenzy many reviewers are finding Google Talk underwhelming compared to feature rich veteran IM services like AIM and ichat or stable, established free voice chat services like Skype which is used by millions. In response to Google’s move into their territory, Skype has opened its software to encourage developers to incorporate Skype into their own products and services.
The new Google Talk service is tied in with Google’s free web mail service G-mail which until this week available only to users who were invited by other users. G-Mail made headlines for its unprecedented free 2 GB of space, its use of the Google search technology to make it easier to find your e-mails. Because G-mail places ads in your messages related to the content of your e-mail, it has stirred concerns among privacy advocates.
To get a free G-Mail account users are required to “pay” Google by providing the information aggregator with a mobile phone number where Google will subsequently send an unlock code by text message.
While Google promises not to be Evil, many journalists, privacy advocates, and savvy web users are beginning to wonder how much information is too much information for the data aggregator.