Google Instant Messenger

Album Cover: Diamond Hoo Ha

"I got to get you in my suitcase."
Supergrass / Diamond Hoo Ha Man

Posted on September 08, 2004 6:28 PM in Computers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

There has been quite a bit of talk around the blogosphere lately concerning the potential for Google to develop its own instant messaging client. After reading Robert Scoble's blog today, I've noticed that talk has now extended beyond the blogosphere.

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am a Google fan. But then again, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who isn't these days. That, in some sense, is why the idea of a Google-branded instant messaging client is so appealing to so many people. People have come to trust Google, and as more and more people jump on the Gmail train, instant messaging seems like the next logical step. From a business standpoint, it is logical for Google because they begin building an affinity network among their users that elevates them to the point of competing directly with AOL, MSN and Yahoo.

First let me say that I would love to see Google enter the instant messaging market. However, the point I want to make here today (if I make one at all) is that I have one major fear when it comes to Google. I am afraid that they are not cut out to be a software company.

Google became what it is today by staying out of the way while at the same time providing an invaluable service. They have been successful developing simple (in UI terms, of course) applications that perform powerful tasks – their web search engine being the most obvious example. However, the only software I have seen come out of Google is their recently released Gmail Notifier. And as you know, I was unimpressed.

While the look of the Gmail Notifier is pretty snazzy (think fade-in alert pop-ups in Outlook 2003), it just didn't feel stable to me. Keep in mind that this is an application that I really wanted to like. If that particular application is any indication of what we have to look forward to in a Google IM client, then I have a feeling the client will (or would, since this is all speculation anyway) take longer to catch on that it should.

Nevertheless, the mere thought of having an alternative to MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo! Instant Messenger that has the potential to be open source, standardized and decentralized has me on the edge of my seat and wishing for the best.


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