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Google Jabbers On

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Tuesday made its Google Talk IM/VOIP service instantly interoperable with other Jabber-based VOIP clients in a move that could push PC VOIP user numbers higher. (See Google Talks Interop.)

Google Talk can now jabber away with users of such services as EarthLink Inc. (Nasdaq: ELNK), Gizmo Project , NetEase.com Inc. (Nasdaq: NTES), Chikka Asia Inc. , and MediaRing Ltd. , as well as with numerous other Jabber-based clients homegrown by ISPs, universities, and corporations.

To date, one of the major hang-ups of using IM-based VOIP has been simply finding somebody to talk to -- somebody that uses the same VOIP client you do. Many PC VOIP enthusiasts have ended up with five different VOIP services on the desktop just to be able to communicate with the various clients used by their buddies.

Google says Google Talk users can now instantly connect with other Jabber-based services without having to sign up for, or sign in with, each service.

“Jabber” is a secure set of streaming XML protocols built on top of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) 's Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP). The protocols "enable any two entities on the Internet to exchange messages and display presence and other structured information in close to real time," according to the Jabber Foundation Website. (See Skype Offers Up Code.) Google engineers played a key roll in developing the Jabber protocols. (See Jabber Jingles All the Way.) Google believes the move could open up Google Talk to “millions” more VOIP users, although Google didn’t return calls to verify that number. Google also declines to say how many people have downloaded the Google Talk client.

“We hope it will bring us one step closer to making IM and Internet voice calling as ubiquitous as email,” Google Talk product manager Mike Jazayeri said on the Google blog Tuesday.

The announcement comes just weeks after Google said it would link its Google Talk service to the popular AIM service as part of its “expanded relationship” with Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) division AOL. (See AOL/Google: VOIP Buddies and Google Takes AOL Stake.) And Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced October 12 that their VOIP-enabled IM clients would interoperate. (See MSN, Yahoo Link IM Services.)

The VOIP world may be growing smaller, and more connected, as its participants reject the notion of the walled garden in favor of openness between services.

Google says its next move is to make Google Talk SIP-speaking, as well as operable on Linux and Mac OSX servers.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

Mark Sullivan 12/5/2012 | 4:08:54 AM
re: Google Jabbers On Google's involvement in PC VOIP is fine, but will the userbase of GoogleTalk and its ilk ever be so big that the RBOCs will care?
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