Friday, 27 February 2015

GTalk is officially dead, long live Hangouts

Google Talk, the 9-year old instant messaging service, has finally been killed by the internet giant. Popularly known as GTalk, the service will now be replaced by Google's Hangouts; the two have co-existed since 2013.

The news about the retirement of GTalk had been announced by Google's product manager for Voice and Hangouts, Mayur Kamat, on February 16 via a blog post.

Though the service is officially dead, it can still be accessed via third-party applications like Jitsi, Psi, Instantbird, Miranda IM, among many others. However, Google in an email sent to users said, "Please bear in mind that these aren't Google products, so exercise caution when signing in with your Google account."

Among the key features of Google Talk was invisibility mode, which is not available in Hangouts. Also, sharing files is much more convenient on GTalk compared to Hangouts.

However, Hangouts is an important tool in Google's fight against popular messaging apps like WhatsApp. With a browser extension, mobile app and Gmail integration, Hangouts provides a more consistent user experience than GTalk.

Moreover, Hangouts integrates text messages with internet-based instant messages, along with GTalk features like voice and video calling.

Below is the full text of the email that Google sent to GTalk users:

Hi User,

We noticed that you recently tried using the Google Talk app for Windows. We wanted to let you know that this was discontinued on 23 February 2015. We recommend giving Hangouts a try so that you can chat with all of your Google contacts. Hangouts supports people's favourite features from Google Talk, including text chat, presence, contact lists and status messages. In addition, Hangouts lets you have group video chats, make phone calls, express yourself with emojis and keep your conversations going across Android, iOS and your computer.

If messaging right from your desktop is important to you, try the Hangouts Chrome app or Hangouts in Gmail. If you're not ready to make the switch to Hangouts quite yet, you can continue using Google Talk on Windows with a range of compatible third-party chat apps. (Please bear in mind that these aren't Google products, so exercise caution when signing in with your Google account.)

As a loyal Google Talk user, we thank you for your support and we hope that you give us the opportunity to provide an even better communications experience with Google Hangouts.

If this sign-in attempt was not made by you, please check details on your Devices and Activity page

Sincerely, The Google Talk and Hangouts team

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