back to article Google Talk is dead, long live, er, Google Talk: Chat will survive app zap, flaps G+ chap

As Google killed off its Windows Google Talk client, it was feared the web giant would soon drop Google Talk support completely – in hope of forcing everyone over to Hangouts. The death of the Windows desktop app was seen was a signal that Google will, in the near future, axe Google Talk for all XMPP-based clients, not just …

  1. Dummy00001
    Paris Hilton

    From "do no evil", to "we don't really care".

    Google Talk is another of those fine examples of how corporations turn away from something what works and is desired, toward something fitting their corporate strategy. Google has been "ill" with the blind following of the blind corporate "strategy" for quite some time now. Talk is not the first victim - and not the last. It's not that the Hangouts can be somehow monetized, compared to the Talk.

    The web-based Hangouts are simply not the same as the standalone, OS-integrated client.

    I am sort of stuck with the Google Talk because it mostly(*) works and because it is (was(**)) the best Google Mail notifier.

    (*) When Google rolled out the Hangouts, they have broke and never fixed the file transfers in the Talk. Needless to say that the Hangouts did never support the file transfers at all.

    (**) Well, Google has managed to break that too: since about one year, Talk still can properly detect the availability of new messages, but it fails to clear the "unread mail" indicator after the messages were read. Same version for the past 5+ years, meaning Google broke something on the server side.

    All that leads me to believe that the breakage was deliberate. As if Google simply can't tolerate when people actually find their services useful...

    1. sport

      Re: From "do no evil", to "we don't really care".

      We kind of "Really do care" actually.

      And I think that that axing the Gtalk app, which was quite a good application, it was reliability stable.

      I think the reason why gtalk was axed is because it was unable to generate revenue for the organisation, google hangouts had more real estate to accommodate for adwords.

  2. Fuzz


    Google talk was supported? Who knew?

  3. Alan Denman

    Name changes are a load of B*llocks.

    Yes, it really waters down the product.

    However, in defence, it is quite telling that I cannot ask Siri what she thinks.

  4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    If I have Hangouts on my phone, it somehow self-activates at a very annoying time and repeatedly posts notifications asking me to sign in. I quickly solve that by uninstalling it.

  5. imanidiot Silver badge

    It might just be me, but I think Hangouts is one of the worst apps Google have ever put out. I use Talk for the mail notification and thats just about it. No-one I know uses it for chat much (and neither do I). AFAIK Hangouts doesn't support mail notifications and the "solution" Google pushes is running Chrome and using some setting/plugin in that. And I do not like Chrome nor want it running at all times.

  6. John Robson Silver badge

    XMPP support...

    Because letting people choose software to interact with your services is too hard?

    How do I get friends onto IRC?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: XMPP support...

      Ironically Google may provide the answer, yank XMPP out from under them. I tried getting friends on IRC years ago and failed miserably. They wanted me to use gTalk, we all use it with Pidgin... for now.

  7. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    "Google wasn't quite sure how to best coax people onto Hangouts"

    A client that doesn't make me want to hunt the fuckers who wrote it for sport would be a great start. The gtalk client was damned near perfect. Trillian is even better. Multiuser support is a must.

    "Coax people onto Hangouts"? Make it worth using, Google. Then be shocked and amazed when people use it. Here's the secret formula:

    1) Make an uncluttered, intuitive, easy to use UI that the majority of people don't have to "learn" and actually like.


    If someone suggests anything other than those two steps as a path to success for your products, shoot them.

    1. Prairie Harpy

      Re: "Google wasn't quite sure how to best coax people onto Hangouts"

      Reliably syncing messages to all devices with Hangouts installed would be a great start. An Achilles heel of both Hangouts and its predecessor was the part where half the time a message would go to your phone but not your computer, or vice versa.

      So one way to get people to use a messaging app would be to... have it transmit messages. (Shock. Awe.)

      Regarding the "uncluttered, intuitive" UI: I for one vote for putting back text labels on buttons in Hangouts, even if that might add to the visual clutter. Google's incomprehensible little (unlabeled) pictograms add an unwelcome element of "I wonder what will happen when I press this, exactly?"

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: "Google wasn't quite sure how to best coax people onto Hangouts"

        "Reliably syncing messages" worked just fine, back in the pre-Hangouts days. by this I mean turn-of-the-millenium-ish, when the whole service was just XMPP. The introduction of Hangouts (and the XMPP bridge that was required to weld the two services together) was what made the whole thing a rotten pile of unworking crap.

        That said, your point about the text "buttons" is well taken. Personally, I don't consider text "clutter". The icons can go. Why do we need them? Just have little text links to functionality.

    2. phil dude

      Re: "Google wasn't quite sure how to best coax people onto Hangouts"

      Pidgin works fine. I am told Jitisi will even run in a browser.

      And more importantly they support OTR (Off-the-record), which at least reduces the chance of snooping in Your Best InterestsTM.

      Not that I ever say anything of interest.

      If you want to know what I think, ask me, so I can bill you....


  8. Raumkraut
    Thumb Down

    Modern stuff like proprietary walled gardens

    The US biz said in 2012 it would be working to get users over to Hangouts – which supports modern stuff like video conferencing.

    You could do video conferencing using XMPP (Jingle) since well before Hangouts were ever a thing. IIRC Google even added support for it to Google Talk.

  9. cyclical

    Slightly off subject - but what are people using for free business chat/video conference these days. I work with a widely dispersed lot of people (Australia, Africa, one hardy lady up in the Scottish highlands on a hill) with very variable connections and we've commonly used Skype, but Microsoft seems determined to make each new version less usable than the previous one (and the Windows 8 versions are about the final straw for a lot of us - phone based versions are getting worse as well). Hangouts actually seemed pretty useful when I last used it a few months ago, but I've only ever used the browser based version, and I've not tried it with the more far-flung folk in Africa who are stuck on satellite internet.

    1. phil dude


      I use pidgin. And I hear Jitsi is pretty good. Both have browser plugins I think?

      If you have bandwidth go look at the high-energy physics folks who have been doing this for a decade.

      The best thing about GPL programs is you can fine tune the codecs which might help with sporadic networks.


  10. MadMat

    Google 'doing a Microsoft'?

    You only need to read the cries of anguish on the search guru's own forums to realise we seem to be going down a burrow we went down 15 years ago.

    Despite telling us otherwise, the big G does appear to have stopped listening to it's followers, and revenue sources. The general consensus seems to be that Hangouts is cr*p, GTalk is/was great - folk have been telling Goggle they don't want everything wrapped in a Chrome overcoat; they like separate apps. But brother Gee doesnt hear.. Another example is GMail conversation thread direction, the cries of 'we want the most recent at the top!' are ignored - or at least G's apologists jump on the requests and tell those asking they are being silly and using e-mail wrongly..

    Only a few years ago I was one of the happy band being a follower of the search giant with a silly name; as I was with the PC software empire pre-Vista/W8-fiascos. Now, the affair is starting to sour as it did with my previous lover when I tried Vista....

    I too have now gone back to an old flame and dug out IRC - who doesn't seem too upset at my straying, bless it.

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