Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Google Talk: the desire for simplicity and perfection

Image representing Google Talk as depicted in ...Image via CrunchBase

The war, which the company ICQ, in recent months against the alternative messengers (uses Oscar), has led to a result - the mass migration of users to the IM-clients with open protocols. This is Trillian, Miranda, Jabber and many others. But against the background of the leaders in the fast breaks brainchild of Google - Internet messenger Google Talk. Until now, "Computer newspaper not to publish a detailed review of the program. Well, try to correct this omission. Moreover, users of Google Talk in the CIS countries, as the statistics show, is growing literally day by day.


Google Talk, appeared in 2005 - It's free and easy-to-use service that lets people make voice calls and send instant messages. This is a downloadable application for Windows allows you to simply and easily communicate in real time. Google Talk is an instant messaging service, which is based on XMPP - an open protocol, better known as Jabber. In Russia and CIS in IM-services has been widely distributed ICQ and other internet-based pagers protocol Oscar (QIP, Mail.ru Agent). But the number of Russian-speaking users of Jabber, too, is steadily growing, especially in recent times.

The main advantage of Google Talk - is that it is tightly integrated with popular email service GMail. They have a single account, that is for access to the messenger using the same username and password as the email service Google. In the main window has a link for quick access to your mailbox, GMail, and in the dialog - button to send a message, again via GMail. Finally, Google Talk periodically checks the mailbox and displays alerts about new messages in the lower right corner of the screen. If invited to Google Talk users who do not have a box in Gmail, it will extend an invitation to start using email service Google.
By installing Google Talk on your PC, the user can immediately start a program using the user name and password, Gmail. When you first start GMail contacts are automatically added to the list of familiar Google Talk. Google Talk has all the features that had previously been in the GMail notification, and displays a notification of new messages in the GMail account, as well as for incoming calls or chats. The exchange of text messages is available from the program Google Talk, and a built-in interface of GMail chat.

If the entry is made using the GMail account, new friends in Google Talk will also in GMail address book, or vice versa. Removing or blocking someone from your Google Talk Friends list does not affect the list of contacts GMail.

The entire history of correspondence is not stored on the user's PC and server. On the one hand it is convenient, on the other - not. Uncomfortable off-the inability to search for messages. Convenient that it was not depending on the IM-client or location - on the same account, you can communicate at work and at home, without a single story in the email.

The initial status of the user - two: Access and busy, but you can add new statuses almost indefinitely. The only drawback - the lack of treatment invisibility.

Dialog window does not contain any unnecessary elements. Dialogues you can minimize, expand by clicking on the title. Window to enter, under the common dialog box, you feel small, but is beginning to grow in the course of writing the text. When both conducted several dialogues, their windows are grouped like a conversation in GMail. At first, looks somewhat unusual, but in practice - quite convenient.

For information about yourself, you can add a picture, avatar - your picture or other image. If you do not have anything suitable, you can select a picture from the drop-down menu of images Google Talk. Your picture will appear immediately, and the two sides will see it next to your name and status on its list. If you upload a photo, it must be a file in JPG, GIF, BMP or PNG. Note that Google Talk will automatically resize the image to 32x32.

The program is extremely modest size - only 1.28 MB and 3.19 MB installer on the disc. The interface of the Google Talk was made in the on-guglovski minimalistichnom style - light and air.

Voice communication

Like most of today's Internet-pager, Google Talk supports voice communication. All you need to call using Google Talk, - this is the address of the other person is connected to the network, a microphone and speaker. All calls (within the limits of planet Earth) - free. If you want to voice communication, at least at one end it is desirable to have a broadband connection. At the other end may be even a modem at 56k. On a personal subjective feelings, the quality of voice transmission in GTalk is no worse than when using Skype. A Skype on voice quality is often superior to conventional phones. Of course, for optimal sound quality using a headset is recommended.

Compatibility with other messenger

Google Talk does not support direct communication with users of AIM, MSN Messenger, ICQ and Yahoo! Messenger. Google Talk supports open standards and uses standard protocol XMPP, which supports projects such as Earthlink, Gizmo Project, Tiscali, Netease, Chikka, MediaRing, and many others.

However, it is clear that completely abandon ICQ few wants. Consequently, the question arises: how can easily switch to GTalk, leaving ICQ? There are three ways:

Method 1. Using the native client.
If I do not want to abandon your beloved ICQ-client, you can simply download the GTalk-client and use it separately, together with ICQ-client. In this case, there is the possibility of voice communication. You can also use the web-client.

Method 2. Multiprotokolnye clients.
You can use multiprotokolnye clients. For example, Miranda, SIM, Kopete, Gaim, etc. They simply add a new account. The disadvantage of this approach is that the history of ICQ messages will not be stored on the server GMail.

Method 3. Using Jabber-Client connecting transport.
Google Talk provides an opportunity to connect to any external transport protocols (ICQ, AIM, MSN, Yahoo), also the history of correspondence with the storage server. There is, however, have fairly pomozgovat. To the GTalk is based on the technology of Jabber, you can use any Jabber-Client - good, their written a great many - Psi, Gajim, Tkabber, JAJC etc. Let's connect ICQ-Transport for example Psi (the rest of the clients are configured about the same).

Jabber - a distributed system, ie there is a lot of servers, on which there is transport in the various IM-systems, including ICQ. To its GTalk-account, you can connect transports almost any other Jabber-server. In the case of transport ICQ to remember that not all transports correctly pull nickname. If the username does not screw up, asechny contact will be visible only as numbers. To fix this, you need the file "\User\PsiData\profiles\default\config.xml" line false replaced by true. After that ship should pull smoothly.

To enable the transport, select Service Discovery and in the address bar, enter the selected our Jabber-server (list of public servers - at the end of the article). A list of available services. If one of them has the desired operations (eg, icq2.swissjabber.ch), register it. Transportation will request the login, password, and authentication, and after its confirmation must draw nicknames ICQ. All.

At the same algorithm can be connected any other transports (AIM, MSN, Yahoo). It can be done so that in one account was merged several GTalk IM-systems - with all correspondence will be kept on the server.

When vehicle use is sometimes there are certainly problems with the Cyrillic character set, so write "between" times of translit. So it is recommended to use the transport servers in the zone RU, although they have problems with stability.

Google Talk Architecture

In 2005, Google is quite logically decided that it makes no sense to build the IM-service in isolation from other communication services to the company. Therefore, even before the public launch Google Talk was integrated with the mail service GMail and social network Orkut. So the developers were able to accurately estimate the future workload and the willingness of service to the public launch.

In order to rationally distribute the load from the very beginning it was realized dividing users into groups and the distribution of each group on different servers. This allowed us to avoid the further evolution of server applications from one server to a large cluster. And this risk was: after the launch service was confronted with a huge number of users and the enormous workload. In addition, the developers provide a smooth transfer of users from one server to another without visible change for him - this has allowed flexibility to change the number of servers in the system.

Imagine an abstract IM-service with millions of users, each with an average of one day sending a hundred text messages. But the service processes and does not take a hundred million messages, and many times more. Judge for yourself: abbreviation XMPP stands for eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol. That is a simple messaging - only one of its functions. An equally important part is behind the scenes - it is displaying the presence of users are online, their actions (like "write message"), change status, the exchange of sensitive information between clients, etc. All of these messages as time and cost for the "presence" in the abbreviation XMPP. The total traffic generated by their functions, in times greater than from the actual traffic of messages and file transfers.

Dependence of the total number of presence-reports of the number of users of IM-services are not linear. Their number for a certain period of time, you can calculate very roughly as the product of three parameters: the number of users, the average length of a list of contacts and number of changes in the status of each user. Each new user in the system increases at least two of these three parameters. But thanks to the above principles (distribution of user groups on different servers) Google Talk handles billions of messages each day in less than 100 milliseconds, which allows to cope with the huge load.

In addition, the developers of Google Talk will try to give more attention to possible disruptions and any problematic situations. It is clear that any (even planned) a temporary stoppage of a part of the system dramatically increases the burden on the rest. Even if just done a reboot of the system, because of the clear cache servers will be fully operational again by no means immediately. Not here to talk about unforeseen failures, whose consequences are much more global ... That is why for the rapid elimination of potential problems - as with the overall operation of the system and its performance - logs maintained for all phases of query processing, as well as the possibility of profiling on the operating system servers.

Go to Google Talk

In recent years, ICQ obrosla mass deficiencies: become unwieldy and unstable working and integrated advertising annoys the user and "eats" the traffic. Minutes ICQ (Oscar) - closed and the company AOL (owner of ICQ) has a bad habit of this protocol is constantly changing, because of what had to periodically download the latest version of your messenger. When you send messages between different clients asechnymi frequent glitches (the inability to transfer files, the problem with the Cyrillic alphabet, etc.).

On the other hand, Google Talk is based on open technology Jabber, which lets you use a native client or any third-party jabber-client (according to the general architecture of the protocol). GTalk, unlike many other Internet-pager, the user provides maximum stability. After all, it is the largest Internet Corporation world - Google.

Two other key advantages - a close synchronization of contacts, GTalk with GMail address book and can connect to any external transport protocols (ICQ, AIM, MSN, Yahoo).

Finally, as I would like to say. It is unlikely that someone from users faithfully read the user agreement ICQ. Meanwhile, there is clearly stated that using ICQ, a user agrees that all rights to material transmitted via ICQ, the company is automatically transferred to AOL!!! Developers such boorishness Google Talk does not allow.

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