All's quiet on the Google Talk front, leaving Microsoft and Yahoo to bring in the big guns.
Yesterday, Microsoft released its first Windows Live product to go live beyond the beta stage. Windows Live Messenger, aka WLM, which has been in public beta since May 8, is now available as a full release candidate. (As of this writing, the Windows Live Messenger page on at ideas.live.com still labels the product as beta.) The first beta build of WLM was made available in limited release in December 2005.
Microsoft says WLM is the first of 20 new Windows Live releases planned over the course of this year.
WLM features include free PC-to-PC calls with other WLM users; paid PC-to-PC calls via Verizon; video calling; and new built-in sharing folders.
This release of WLM marks the end of MSN Messenger, which is only available to people using operating systems older than Windows XP.
"Starting today, we're directing everyone to download Windows Live Messenger instead," wrote a developer on the WLM group blog. "MSN Messenger only lives on for people using operating systems older than Windows XP (on which Windows Live Messenger is not supported.)"
Microsoft says that the new version of WLM does not include Yahoo-Microsoft interoperability. That functionality was expected for Q2 2006.
Speaking of Yahoo, the company announced yesterday a new beta of Yahoo Messenger with Voice. The big to-do: plug-ins and open APIs. Like AOL a few months prior, Yahoo has announced that it is opening its IM client to third-party developers.
But no news from Google Talk these days. The most recent features: customizable photos for friends and Google Talk for BlackBerrys. And, if you missed it, Google Talk works in 13 languages. (Google Watch humbly suggests Google update this particular data point on its Google Talk FAQs page.)