Google had a WhatsApp competitor, but it just died

Google has always been interested in messaging. In 2005, when WhatsApp did not yet exist, Google launched Google Talk, a messaging service that allowed instant chats with other Gmail users. But in 2013, instead of continuing to improve Google Talk, the Mountain View firm announced that it would replace it with Hangouts.

Then, the Google Talk client was shut down in 2015, requiring users of that service to switch to Hangouts. However, the Mountain View company had left a choice for those who did not wish to use Hangouts.

Google asks diehards to switch to Google Chat

The Google Talk application has been closed, but it was still possible to use this messaging service, until today, on third-party clients, such as Pidgin or Gajim. But unfortunately, it is soon the end of this reprieve that has been granted to Google Talks.

In a support page, Google announces the end of Google Talk support for third-party clients, including Pidgim or Gajim, on June 16. Google is encouraging those still using Google Talk through these third-party clients to switch to Google Chat, another messaging service that was launched by Google.

Indeed, Hangouts, which was supposed to replace Google Talk, did not really hit the mark. Google also tried its luck with another application called Allo, but which did not have the expected success despite some good arguments.

Google Chat or Android Messages?

Today, in terms of messaging, Google relies on Google Chat but also (and above all) on Android Messages. Indeed, the SMS client which is installed by default on most Android smartphones is no longer content to manage SMS, but also supports a technology called RCS.

RCS is a new format (not owned by Google, but of which it has become the main supporter) which is a kind of more modern version of SMS. This allows you to have an experience comparable to those of messaging services like WhatsApp or Telegram (including end-to-end encryption that secures discussions). And it works like iMessage on the iPhone (in that the user automatically switches to SMS when RCS isn’t available).

Moreover, currently, Google is campaigning for Apple to support RCS on the iPhone, so that messaging on iPhone and Android smartphones can become compatible.

Google Talk had an important advantage at the time

Otherwise, we note that at the time, Google Talk had a particularity: it was based on an open protocol, called XMPP. As noted in an article published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (an American NGO), in an article published in 2013, “Google’s earlier full support for XMPP meant that users could chat with people on other instant messaging services, or even who hosted their own chat servers. This kind of decentralization is a good thing: it reduces attachment to a particular service, allowing services to compete on important factors such as quality, availability, or user privacy. »

The NGO wrote that the switch from Google Talk to Hangouts was a switch from Google messaging from open protocols to one of the proprietary protocols.

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