Google finally released a new version of Google Talk. It's been a long time coming, but the new application, in some ways, definitely worth the wait. This version includes all the great features of the Google Talk Gadget, but in an application form. It's called, Google Talk Labs Edition.
Google Talk, Labs Edition is an experimental release of the Google Talk client. It has many of the same great features as the Google Talk Gadget, including instant messaging, emoticons, and group chat. Google Talk, Labs Edition also comes with new desktop notifications from Calendar, Orkut, and Gmail.
One of my favorite features is the new Google Calendar notifications. They remind me more of the ones you can find in Outlook when you have a scheduled appointment. Instead of a simple email sent to your Gmail account, you are shown a dedicated snoozable calendar alert window that makes it a lot harder to forget appointments.
Unfortunately, however, the new version doesn't come without drawbacks. No voice calls or file transfer. Even though the client itself is much nicer than the original, the absence of those two features is probably why it's labeled a "labs version".