Thursday, September 01, 2005
Google takes aim at Instant Messaging
Last week, the industry was abuzz about Google introducing its Google Talk application, an instant-messaging system designed to interoperate with Jabber and Trillian right away and possibly with other IM networks down the road.
Google's offering will be similar to several other consumer-oriented IM networks in that it will provide conventional IM capabilities in addition to PC-to-PC telephone capabilities. While several IM systems are today interoperable via federated networks, the primary difference with Google Talk is that it will be an open system that is more natively interoperable than many other IM systems.
Early reviews of Google Talk indicate that its interface and capabilities do not really represent a stellar jump forward in terms of usability, features or functions - there is no video chat in the current iteration of Google Talk, for example.
However, I believe that Google Talk has the potential for making a major impact in the IM world. Google has been very aggressive and successful in the markets it has entered. For example, Google is the dominant search engine in use, accounting for 46.2% of online searches conducted in July, according to Nielsen NetRatings; Google Maps, launched in spring 2005, already has 7.2 million users; Gmail is gaining market share among Webmail systems.
I expect Google Talk will also gain market share fairly rapidly because of its ability to interoperate right away with the millions of Jabber and Trillian users and because of the potential for expanding this interoperability to other platforms - not to mention the fact that Google Talk will likely integrate with Google's other Web, e-mail and desktop-based properties.
The success of an IM system is due largely to its "gravity," since the greater the number of users an IM system has, the more likely it is to attract new users. However, our research has shown that, at least in the workplace, the number of IM clients per organization continues to grow. That means that even if someone is already using AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger or MSN Messenger, there is a strong possibility they will adopt a new IM client, particularly if it's free and offers capabilities that they find desirable. I expect Google Talk to be such a product.
Write: by LuisB 09.2005