While Google Talk will use the Jabber protocol, there are concerns over network interopability, with Jabber Australia President (and Geekrant reader) Jeremy Lunn questioning how (and if) Google Talk will work with existing networks.
Meanwhile, the extremely popular but extremely proprietary Skype has opened up… just a teensy bit… with an API to let developers hook into Skype a little more easily. Doesn’t mean other clients will be able to use the Skype protocols, or extend Skype support onto new platforms, mind you.
The article might come across as being a bit negative, though the fact that Google has used Jabber for client connections is a good first step. One advantage that this has had is that multi-IM programs such as Trillian, Adium, Miranda and GAIM all work with Google from day one without any modification. Imagine if Google used their own protocol, the developers of these programs would have to write support for yet another protocol if they were to support Google Talk!
Interestingly, Google has updated their position on interoperability today at:
This looks much more promising and removes the statements that were concerning many people. They still talk about their concerns regarding spam, which is fair enough as long as they can come up with a solution that is workable. Which they add that they’d like to do “while maximizing the reach of the network”. I’ll be eager to see what happens, though now I have more faith that Google will do the right thing.
As for Skype, their opening up of APIs, this doesn’t make it any more open than say Microsoft Windows. If they wanted to be open, they’d use protocols like Jabber and SIP, just like Google are doing really.