Online Exclusive: Google Talk (Minus Search) May Hold Key Future Implications

Google has introduced yet another product (please, don't call it a portal). Google Talk is an instant messaging service that allows users to make voice calls between computers. But one major thing the service doesn't offer users — which happens to be the one thing Google does best — is search.

Advertisers looking to Google Talk to be the next medium, in which they can gain search exposure, will be disappointed to know that, at least for the moment, Google Talk doesn't even feature a search box.

Google's debut into the instant messaging arena seems like just another step in its progression to being a full-service online “portal.” Though Google Talk might not seem to contribute to Google's mission “to organize the world's information,” Google sees this as a way of allowing users to communicate information quickly.

What Google might have forgotten, however, is that it is known primarily for one thing — search. And to not include a search feature in Google Talk while IM veterans and rivals such as Yahoo IM, Paltalk, AOL IM, and MSN Instant Messenger do, does not a happy user make.

Overall, Google Talk is a nice addition; the quality of the voice feature is great, rivaling that of other instant messenger/voice services by its competitors. Google Talk has all the basics one would expect in an instant messaging service, but nothing that its competitors don't currently offer, and even lacking some things they do, such as: no search tool, no video chat, no file/image sharing, and the inability for conversations to be indexed by its own Google Desktop search tool. And, usually when Google introduces a new product, you expect a little more; you expect that WOW factor — which just isn't there right now.

One important point: in the vein of looking towards the future and Google’s latest secondary offering (in an effort to raise some serious cash) — why did it need to launch Google Talk now? After seeing Google Talk and its current emphasis on clear voice communication, I think Google's purchase of all the dark fiber makes even more sense. Think about it — couldn't it have just let people make free phone calls to regular phone numbers from their computers using all that controlled bandwidth?

Don't think it can be done? Well, consider Skype, a program that allows users to make free calls to each other over the Internet, which has made a business by offering long-distance calls for a few cents per minute; I am quite sure Google, one of the most prominent Internet proprietors, can figure out a way to serve up relevant ads to make the time users spend “talking” to their computer profitable while they're on the “phone.” Think about how this would not only shake up the telecom industry but also the VOIP industry as well.

So, while Google Talk isn't the most impressive offering from Google (initially) it could be the conductor necessary to bring Google a step closer to its ultimate goal “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Instant, easy and cheap (free) communication is a key part of this mission. Can Google Talk do this?

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