Google will announce later today (update: has announced) several upgrades to Google Talk. The upgrades, which come
on near the product's one-year anniversary, include:
- File transfer - The "top requested" feature of GTalk users. You can share any type of file, several at a time if you want, including photos, of course. According to a Google representative, when you drop up to 10 photos on Google Talk, smaller previews automatically appear right inside the chat window, so you can chat about them right away.
- Voice mail - You can now leave voice mails for any of your Google Talk contacts when they don't answer a call, but you can also easily record voice notes and send them to anyone you know by just adding their e-mail addresses to your contact list. They don't even have to be running Google Talk. According to the same Google rep: "This is a fun and easy way to just say hello, send someone a reminder, or sing your mom happy birthday. :-)" The Gmail team has added the ability to play back voice mail messages within Gmail.
- Music status sharing - Users can opt to display the titles of the songs they are listening to in their status bar when Google Talk detects that a supported music player is running. Music Status currently supports iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp and Yahoo Music Engine. "We look forward to supporting more players in the future."
Google Talk is Google's late entry into the instant messaging market, following AOL's AIM, Microsoft's
MSN Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger with Voice. Microsoft and Yahoo recently announced that they were allowing their two IM clients to interoperate. Meanwhile Google and AOL are planning on making their IM clients interoperable by 2007.
When Google launched GTalk, AOL owned about 52 percent of the IM market, Yahoo owned 24 percent, and Microsoft had 17.7 percent, acording to ComScore. One year on, the latest statistics show that GTalk still lags behind its major competitors, with only about 1 million users.