Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Google Talk Launches

Google launched a client application that allows users to talk and send instant messages over the Internet for free. The VoIP/IM service integrates with Gmail and should work across firewalls.

Google Talk uses a custom XMPP-based signaling protocol and peer-to-peer communication mechanism. Google said it plans to fully document this protocol, and, in the near future, to support SIP signaling.

Significantly, Google said it plans to partner with other willing service providers to enable federation of its services. Initial federation partners will include EarthLink's Vling service and Sipphone's Gizmo Project, although no time frame was given. Google said it was willing to federate with other service providers who share its views on openess and user privacy issues.

The Google Talk client currently is only available on Windows, but users of other operating systems can connect to the Google Talk service using other IM clients, including Apple's iChat.

Google Talk supports the following standard voice codecs: PCMA, PCMU, G.723, iLBC. Google is lso evaluating the Speex codec. It also supports codecs from Global IP Sound: ISAC, IPCMWB, EG711U, EG711A.

Encryption is not currently used, but the company plans to add this capability.

Initially, only an English-language version is available. With its initial release, Google also kept additional features to a minimum.

  • In July, The Gizmo Project, a free VoIP service developed by Michael Robertson and his team at SIPphone, released the first public beta of its consumer VoIP software. Robertson's previous start-ups have included MP3.com, Linspire, SIPphone and most recently MP3tunes.com. Unlike Skype, Gizmo is based on SIP and follows a standards-based approach to its network and directory. New users choose their username and then a SIP number is automatically assigned to the account. Gizmo can send/receive calls to over 100 other SIP networks, including some university networks and Asterisk-based networks. Regular phones could be attached to the service using an unlocked SIP analog-telephone-adapter.


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