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Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Google Launches Instant Messaging Program

The Internet search titan unleashed Google Talk, an instant messaging (IM) program designed to unify the factionalized world of online chat, according Georges Harik, director of "Googlettes," or new products, at the US company.

"We are trying to create a giant IM web," Harik said. "We are going to try to be a rallying point so all people can connect.

Google Talk has the potential to make instant messaging similar to email or telephone services, that allow anyone to reach out and contact anyone else with an account or a phone, Harik said.

"We are very excited to release this product," Harik said. "We are going to try to be the first in the world to connect everyone to everyone."

Along with the Google Talk, free accounts with the Silicon Valley company's formerly invitation-only email system, called "Gmail," will be available to anyone, Harik said.

Gmail for the masses will be introduced starting with Google Talk's launch from the company website at 12:01 am New York time in the United States (0400 GMT) and then "rolled out internationally later," Harik said.

"We think the right thing to do for the world is have one big instant-messaging network that is interoperable," Harik told AFP.

The creators of Google Talk envision it breaking down the walls that exist between different instant messaging systems, which only let users chat with others in the same network.

"Google Talk is the first system that is open," he said. "We are trying to move people to a different world."

Google Talk will connect with Jabber and Trillian, software designed to act as a switchboard connecting users of different instant messaging services, according to Harik.

Google is working on alliances with Zip Phone and Internet service provider Earthlink, along with Yahoo, America OnLine and Skype.

"Our success depends on what the other networks do," Harik said of the Google quest for allies in the IM effort.

A test run of Google Talk revealed a simple, uncluttered pop-up box that easily initiated text exchanges as well as online telephone calls to other computers equipped with speakers and microphones.

People using Google Talk can conveniently chat or text message each other while engaged in online game playing or brainstorming, Harik said while touting Google Talk's features.

The software looks for messages while people are focused on other computer applications, according to Harik.

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