The guys at Google are at it again, and are testing a new version of Google Talk. Last time I called it a leaked version and everyone was on me for that, so this time I am calling it Google Talk 18.104.22.168 (Unreleased Version). You can download this version from here.
This one sports quite a few changes, and Google has also created a temporary What’s New Page for it. The new features and changes are:
- Main Window now shows image icon for all users instead of only the online ones.
- Notifications for Contacts coming Online.
- Supports File Transfer.
- Supports Voicemails.
- Notifications for Voicemail.
So lets start with the Main Window UI change. Now we see images of all our contacts and their status is mentioned below. Compared to the current (the officially released 22.214.171.124 version) where only images and status of Online Contacts is shown. And I prefer the current UI (the officially released 126.96.36.199 version), lets hope Google reverts this change in the official release.
One another change or one may call addition to the UI is the addition of a Green Phone Button for New Voicemail Notification, next to new email notification.
Now we also have a Notifications for Contacts coming Online. This is not activated by default, and one has to do it from Settings –> Notification tab. One omission is that these notifications don’t appear when the contact signs out.
Now File Transfer. It’s one main service that’s kept most of us away from using Google Talk daily. And the service is pretty good. Either one can click on the Send File button or just drag and drop the file to be transferred.
I am totally impressed with it, it has been really well implemented. The only problem is that when you send a picture file it shows the whole picture adjusted to the width of the window and not just a small thumbnail or icon. And most of the time it results in the whole window being hijacked by the picture.
And finally to Voicemail. When someone sends you a Voicemail its delivered directly to your Gmail Inbox, and so has implications on every Gmail user, even if you don’t use Google Talk at all.
First its implementation and integration with Google Talk. You can send a Voicemail to absolutely anybody. Doesn’t matter if the contact is using the Google Talk, or any other client like Gaim or Offline.
When you click on the Send Voicemail button, you get a sweet lady saying “The Person you are trying to reach isn’t available, please leave a message after me. Meeeeeep!!!”
The main part starts after you have received the Voicemail. As I said you get it in you Gmail Inbox and not Google Talk. In Google Talk all you get is a notification telling how many Voicemails you have just as for emails. If you click on that you are taken to a page that’s got a complete green module for itself. And if you go directly to your inbox they are there just like any other mail right there in your inbox. The only difference is that they sport a phone icon just before the date and time. One can listen to the Voicemail directly in the window or download it as a mp3 file.
The reason I say it will have implications on all Gmail users is that I have a feeling that Google will create a complete tab for storing Voicemails just like for Chats.
Now for the stuff missing from Google Talk are (gladly the list is reducing):
- No Emoticons. I would love to see the Gmail chat emoticons being ported to this.
- There is no way you can customize the text in the chat window. (You have to use * for bold and _ for italics)
- No Invisible/Sleath mode.
- No Offline Messaging. Voicemails are a step closer but no where near Offline messages.
I would give this build a good 3 out of 5 mainly for bringing in File Transfer. But its main USP still is Voice Chat. I would highly recommend any Google Talk user to upgrade to this version. (Google Talk will automatically upgrade itself when it is officially out, but when a better version is there why not use it)