How GTalk plays into Google's identity strategy

How GTalk plays into Google's identity strategy

Summary: Google can't build an integration point without an identity strategy and their identity strategy has to include synchronous messaging and presence--things they get in spades and on the cheap from a IM system built on XMPP.

TOPICS: Google

With the release of GTalk this week, the blogosphere has been talking about what it all means. In fact, there's been way more talk than "yet another messaging system," in world with 3 or 4 too many already, deserves. Clearly, Google is positioning itself as an Internet operating system capable of displacing Microsoft as the integration point (to use a Clayton Christensen term).

To do that, Google needs an identity strategy. My guess is they've got one, although they haven't come right out and said that. GMail created unique user IDs on the Google network, which GTalk leverages. I've started calling them GIDs. The GTalk announcement extends that and strengthens it. As David Card wrote:

What's critical about IM isn't real-time text messaging but the Buddy List as a communications/presence management hub.(Link is ancient history for geek/vision cred.) You manage your buddies and buddy groups and their relationships to you (and each other), shifting those according to what persona you're inhabiting (work, home, fun, shopping, etc.) and what communications are available to you or you want to make available to them. Then broadcast that selectively. The company that can teach consumers how to do this, and own that management tool is in a very powerful position.

What's more, the GTalk messaging system is based on XMPP, the XML-based protocol that powers Jabber. I think that's significant for a couple of reasons:

  • Jabber open with lots of clients that already work on GTalk. I started using it with iChat (on OS X), using my existing GMail account, and with no download or configuration on the Google side. It just worked. The significance is not only more ready adoption. More importantly, this plays right into the "Google as an integration point for various commodity components" meme. The integration point is where the money is made--just ask Microsoft.
  • XMPP is bigger than just instant messaging. First, as we've noted it's a presence network. Starting to build presence into other apps on Google is now possible. No reason, for example, that every Google group couldn't have it's own presence cues for every member with a GID. But even beyond presence, XMPP could carry lots of information besides just chatter between friends. Event notification or reputation information are a few examples.

Its nice to think of Google as a bunch of smart people just having a good time and seeing what fun toys they can build, but that misses the fact that they're also a multi-billion dollar company that has to fulfill a lot of investor expectation or die. Doing so requires a strategy and Google's strategy is based on becoming the Internet OS and integrating commodity components (i.e. Linux, OS X, and Windows). Google can't build an integration point without an identity strategy and their identity strategy has to include synchronous messaging and presence--things they get in spades and on the cheap from a IM system built on XMPP. This is a smart move on Google's part.

Topic: Google

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  • There's much more.

    Google like Cisco has access to the full resources of Stanford University. They are not thinking small here. They know how to put together a business plan. They know how to think creatively. They know how to do marketing research. At Stanford they understand how to engineer and position and time and roll out technology. These are not just a couple of smart guys having a lot of fun - just like Cisco was not ever just a husband and wife team who worked well together. Once Google hits the critical mass of compelling new technologies, and they are close, and draw everybody in, they then have the address set that everybody will need and use to talk to everyone else. That makes them the universal monopoly phone company. They could do an incredible search engine phone book in their sleep. So I think they want to become the new phone company, they want to become a new kind of internet phone company that replaces the old technology. Personally I think they have a chance to pull it off. If they succeed, they will be bigger than Cisco.
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  • Whats old is New Again

    When you stop to think about it, Google isn't doing anything that Yahoo, MSM AOL, Apple, arent allready doing.
    Once you have a user ID with any of them you can log into email, chat and game, and create your own personal pages and load up pictures to share,-or not. Yahoo has its 360 Degree page, which is kind like a personal home page thats tied with that user Id, account ect. I'm sure MSM and AOL, will have something similier if they don't have allready, (I only use Yahoo.)

    Theres a couple of things to remember;
    1, Google is not offering any bells and whisle with its GTalk, I have never used most of the extra features in Yahoo's Client. That makes it easiyier to use and simplier to install and set up.

    2, Google got one big thing RIGHT, When it decided to use Jabber. I had never heard of Jabber myself, but from what I'm reading Its very compatable with any number of IM Clients and platforms, It was a big win, when they included IChat, for the Apple folks. That opens up a huge crowd of folks.

    On the down side, theres one thing evryone I read about seems to forget, There still a huge percentage of people on line with a dial-up connection. The rual areas are being the last areas to get any kind of broadband at all, Actually if it weren't for my phone company finelly offering a dial-connection I would even be on line at all. Everyone talks about using VOIP and the like on a fast connection, Theres still a lot of us there who can't get a fast connection,
    To me one big question is how dose GTalk and the like work with older slower connections?????