An idea to better promote Google Talk in a corporate envrionment

I just read this post about the deal that eBay and Google signed which will also allow Google Talk and Skype to interoperate and possibly be able to communicate even via chats.

It them folloed by an enlightened moment (Ka ching!) where I thought of an idea that Google can use to deepen Google Talk`s penetration in the corporate environment.

Google Talk is based on the solid and open standards of XMPP (Jabber).
One of the advantages of the Jabber protocol is its locality. All chats performed in the same server stays on that server and will not take the long walk to some company`s chat server somewhere on the Internet (which is what happens with MSN Messenger, for example).

The main advantage of this for corporates is that all corporate talks all remain in the corporate`s network and servers and will never go out of the it (an IT manager`s dream ;-) ).
What some corporates do is deploy yet another IM service inside their corporate and what the users end up are a couple of IM software instances, one for corporate and one for the rest of the user`s chats (which is suppose to be only private chats, but usually end up with some business and work relates chats).

There are two major ideas I had that can be easily implemented in Google Talk to achieve this:

  1. Have Google Talk support an additional Jabber account. That account will be connected to a local corporate Jabber server (there are a lot of them). The Google Talk client will handle these two account separately and will send messages to contacts of the local corporate through the corporate account and not through Google Talk`s servers.
  2. Have Google release their Google Talk server as a corporate product. Certain Google Talk users will be marked as corporate users and all communication with them will be sent through the locally installed Google Talk server.

There are pros and cons for both approaches.

Approach #1 is easier to implement and will not require a lot of work on Google`s part to release their server as a product. The disadvantages are that the voice features of Google Talk might not be available and that people will still have 2 different contacts, corporate and non corporate.

Approach #2 is harder for Google to implement but brings a couple of interesting advantages, the first being that Google Talk voice abilities will probably work just fine. Corporate will not need to configure anything, it will all come in a box from Google (like their search appliance).

Both approaches are based on a Jabber server which can have gateways installed to all the different other protocols (including Yahoo, ICQ and MSN) which can make things a lot easier for corporate users. They will have one client that gives most of the features to all other clients and still be able to securely communicate with their corporate peers.

What do you think? Is Google going to do such a thing?

So you did see my Email!

A while back Google added a feature to Gmail so that you can see which of your friends is online and chat with them.
While this might look cool there is another side to this story, people can actually see when you are reading your Emails on your Gmail account.

I, for example, use GAIM as my main IM client and since Google Talk (GTalk) uses Jabber as its underlying protocol, it means that every Jabber supported client can connect to GTalk. Jabber has built in support to show your status and the client you are using and most Jabber clients (besides GTalk) allow you to see this text.

Google Talk’s integration within Gmail is implemented in such a way that Gmail is converted into a Jabber client. The engineers at Google Talk used the client text and it clearly shows “gmail” in it (as opposed to Talk.vXXXX that is shown for GTalk clients).
Since the option for having the Chat integration is turned by default, if you use a client that is different than GTalk (like GAIM) one can see exactly when his/her friend is inside Gmail.

What do you do when you are in Gmail? Probably reading (or at least seeing) Emails.
A bit annoying isn’t it? I don’t want anyone to know when I’m actually logging into my Gmail account and read/see my Emails.

Luckily you can turn this off. There is an option at the end of the page after you login into Gmail that says “Gmail view:”. In there you can select “standard without chat” which will turn off the GTalk integration.

Connect Google Talk with MSN, Yahoo and AIM

Just saw this on Digg and since I’m already on a Jabber frenzy due to my previous posts, I thought I should share.

Looks quite cool, though I haven’t tried it yet.

I’m using GAIM so I got everything all up in one client. I’m just waiting to get a build of GAIM that works with libjingle so I would be able to chat with my friends using Google Talk’s voice features.

If I only had a bit more free time to actually code on GAIM that would be even better… oh well… back to the salt mines.

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Company-Wide Instant Messaging with Jabberd

Continuing my current fixation about Jabber and Jabber related stuff (it all started with this post about how Google is openning up Google Talk to talk with other Jabber based servers), there is a good article up on O’Relly’s OnLamp.com about the pros and cons of a Company-Wide Instant Messaging solutions as well as how to setup Jabberd 2.x to do just that.

It’s really worth the read for people that are trying to figure out how to utilize an IM solution in their company while still retaining a high degree of security.

Go. Read. Implement.

Jabber Servers Supporting the DialBack Protocol

I promised in the previous post about Google Talk’s support for federation to check what open source Jabber servers supports the DialBack protocol described in RFC 3920 used by Google Talk server to talk to other Jabber server.

Well… it seems that the dialback protocol is supported by all server listed here and a bunch of other non open source servers not listed there.

This is a good thing, but it seems the dialback protocol is not encrypted like the other TLS and SASL server-to-server protocols. On the other hand all other IMs today are not encrypted by default so privacy issues regarding this are legitimate as to the rest of the IMs available.

The main advnatage of the Jabber Protocol (besides it being an open source specification and a standard) is that it is federated like the Email system is, meaning, if I send an Email to another friend who is on the same server, that Email will never leave the server.
If I send an Email to a friend in a different server (domain) that Email can go through 1 or more other servers until it reaches its destination.

This is a great oppertunity for business who are afraid of putting instant messaging software inside the organization due to security issues since all internal IMs will be kept internal and will not travel outside the network of the company/office/department/group. Only when IMs will go to a user on a different network they will be sent to a differnet server.

In addition to that, and as I talked a bit in an earlier post, Jabber has support in the protocol for cross-protocol communications, which means that upon installing a bridge to a different IM system (MSN, Yahoo, AOL, ICQ) you can use your internal Jabber client, see other IM users from your corporate as and users from other Jabber servers as well as users from other networks such as MSN, Yahoo, AOL and ICQ.

Now all we have left to do is promote the proposed standards for Jingle (JEP-0166) and Jingle-Audio (JEP-0167) (and perhaps the open source libjingle library) so we will finally bridge all the gaps between the various IM systems we have today.

Someone heard my call – Google Talk support federation

A while back I posted a request/hope that Google Talk will open up to AOL using one of the Jabber bridges.

I also secretly hoped (meaning, I forgot to blog about it) that since Google Talk uses Jabber, they will open up its federation abilities and enable everying Google Talk user to communicate with any other Jabber user (providing that that user supports the necessary XMPP spec that Google Talk uses, which I still don’t know if it is one of the common ones, but I’ll check that up).

Well… Yesterday one of the Google Talk team members announced it on the Google Talk blog and it was also announced in the official Google blog.

Way to go Google!

Now almost everyone with a Jabber account will be able to talk to any other Google Talk user.

Check back here for a summary of all Jabber server that supports the dialback protocol (RFC 3920) so you’ll know which Jabber server will be able to talk to Google Talk.

Google Talk and AIM talks

I’m sure you all have heard by now that Google and AOL have signed a deal in which part of it is to enable Google Talk and AIM users to communicate with each other.

Google Talk is based on the open XMPP (Jabber) standard which has built in abilities to work with gateways that enables this protocol to communicate with other protocols.

I just hope Google will use some of the Jabber/AIM bridges such as AIM/ICQ-Transport to make this thing work.

Google Talk Log Abilities

As my good friend Dudu pointed out (and I forgot to tell you), Google Talk’s log abilities are very limited.

It only saves the last 20 lines of chat (and only if the window was closed properly, otherwise it will NOT save the log).

Since Google Talk currently lack any normal API (heck, its just one executable file ;-) ), I thought about writing a small up that would listen to file changes in the log directory, parse them and accumelate them in one file per converstaion with a person (similar to what the log is doing now).

This will allow me to save the complete log of the chat.

I was also fiddling around with making my small app, a Google SideBar add-on. All I can say is that its not that nice to make one :-).
Actually, I didn’t have enough time (I think a hour should do it) to mess around with it too much.

Anyhow, I’ll update all of you on how my Google Talk mods are coming along.

Google Talk Chat Log Viewer

After discovering the Google Talk Chat Log format and seeing that its not human readable, I’ve decided to write a log viewer so I can check out and read my logs whenever I want to.

You can download the Google Talk Chat Log Viewer v0.1 from here .

I’ve also written there the Google Talk Chat Log format if anyone else is interested.

Enjoy!

How to edit/delete Google Talk custom messages

Google Talk stored all of your custom messages that you have entered in a file in your user profile directory.

The file is located at “%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Google Talk\status”

Inside you will find a file named in the format [userid]-history.txt.
So if your Gmail account is John.Dow@gmail.com the filename will be john.dow_gmail.com-history.txt (besides, there is usually only one file there anyway ;-) ).

The file format is very easy. It start with a first line which has the character “1” in it. I’m not sure what it stands for and what it do but you can disregard it.
All of the other lines are your custom message.

There are two statuses that can have custom messages that you can set for them. The “Available” status and the “Busy” (reffered internally as dnd – Do Not Disturbe).

Each two lines represent one custom message. The first line of each one of them represents one of the two statuses that this custome message refers to (available or dnd). The second line is your custom message.

There is no way of delete your previous custom messages in the current Google Talk GUI (Its currently true for the versions I’ve worked with 1.0.0.64 and 1.0.0.66 but may be irrelevant for future versions).

In order to delete these unnecessary custom messages do the following things:

  1. Close Google Talk
  2. Open the file (the location and name are mentioned above)
  3. Find the message text
  4. Delete that line and the line above it.
  5. Save the file
  6. Start Google Talk

That’s it, you won’t see it.

Of course, instead of deleting the line you can also edit it to change it.

Hope this helps someone.