The Null Device
Google release their own instant messaging/VoIP system
. It's called Google Talk, and, unlike proprietary competitors, is based on the XMPP ("Jabber") protocol. The Google client is Windows-only at the moment, so Mac and Linux users will have to content themselves with having text-only conversations using the various other XMPP clients
, though clients for other platforms are under develop,ent. Google also say
that they will fully document the VoIP protocol and support SIP as well, which is very promising; unlike Skype, it will be an open, user-extensible system, and there will be nothing stopping all-in-one multiprotocol clients like Gaim from integrating Google Talk functionality (which is just as well; having a separate window for each network you're on is a waste of screen space). All it needs is SkypeOut-style facilities for making calls to telephone numbers; though, with an open system, third parties could easily step in and provide those.
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