Google Talk is a service offered by Google for Voice over IP and instant messaging. Google Talk beta was released on August 24, 2005 and consists of both a service and a client used to connect to the service. Unlike some other instant messaging services, Google Talk uses an open protocol (Jabber) for the IM part and it encourages the use of clients other than their own in connecting to the Google Talk service.
As of the launch date, the Google Talk client is available only for Windows (2000, XP, Server 2003); users of other operating systems are provided with instructions for various popular Jabber clients, such as Psi or Miranda IM for older versions of Microsoft Windows, iChat or Adium for Mac OS X and Gaim for Linux. However, any program capable of using the Jabber protocol is sufficient, although the voice over IP service only works with the Google client.
Google has announced that a major goal of the Google Talk service is interoperability. Google Talk uses Jabber and XMPP to provide real-time extensible messaging and presence events, including offline messaging (though only through non-Google clients like Adium). Google Talk now supports federation with other Jabber servers, allowing you to send and receive IMs to other Jabber users with non-Google Talk accounts. If you are registered on a Jabber server with transports for other IM networks (AIM, Yahoo, MSN, etc.) you can even incorporate those contacts on your Google Talk list. It's not officially supported, but it does work. Read Connecting Google Talk to AIM, MSN & Yahoo!
On December 15th 2005, Google released libjingle, a C++ library to implement Jingle, “a set of extensions to the IETF's Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) for use in voice over IP (VoIP), video, and other peer-to-peer multimedia sessions.”
Google Talk does not encrypt the Jabber stream, instead using an undocumented non standard way of authenticating to the service, retrieving a token from a secure web server. Other clients than Google's own are required to secure their streams with TLS before sending the password, causing them to stay encrypted throughout the whole session. Google claims that all messages (text and voice) will be encrypted in future releases.
Offline messages are not supported so far and the configuration options available are very limited.
- You can change the font size by focusing your mouse cursor either on the message window or input box, holding the control key down, and spinning the scroll wheel.
- Use the keyboard: Pressing Tab cycles through conversations in each stack and the main window. Ctrl+Tab or Shift+Tab cycles backwards.
- When you see a message notification, you can right click it to close it without focusing the conversation window.
- To make something bold, you must place an asterisk before and after the area you want to bold: *example* turns to example
- If you want to italicize something, you must place underscores around the area you want to italicize: _example_ turns to example
- Between one set of ‘*'s or ‘_'s, you can have up to and including 100 characters. If you exceed this number of characters, the effect will not take place and you will get normal text with the * or _ symbols visible at either end
- Typing a smiley like 🙂 and 😀 in an IM window will make it turn bold blue like: 🙂 and 😀. Other valid smileys are 🙁 😛 :O 😐 :'( 😡 🙂 😀 🙁 😛 :-O 😐 😡.
- If you use the Chat functionality in Gmail, many of these are now converted to animated emoticons. See Google Talk Gets Graphical Smilies for all the codes.
- Preceding text with a symbol from the Hebrew alphabet, such as ห and ๆ, makes text bold and large.
- Surrounding text with and // makes text clickable like a link but does not lead to any url.
These tips are a feature of the Google client and not Jabber in general. They will not work with all third party clients.