Google releases new Gtalk Web app; what does it mean?

gtalk on iphoneWhat does this mean? Google Talk for the iPhone.

Google announced Thursday that it has developed a new Web app version of Gtalk for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Just point Safari to and you’ll be launched into a much improved, albeit stripped down, interface. From there you can view contacts, send instant messages, update your status, and “go off the record” if you don’t want to store your chats in Gmail.

That’s fine and dandy. But in all honesty, Gtalk users — and users of any chat service — have wanted native chat clients for the iPhone since it debuted a little more than a year ago. More importantly, they don’t want to lose a chat connection when they switch from chat to answer the phone, to send a Tweet on Twitter, or browse the Web using Safari.

This is due to the fact that the iPhone cannot run more than one application at once, other than playing the iPod. Running more than one app at once also drains the battery.

Even so, many iPhone users have hoped that Apple will have solved this dilemma with the upcoming release of the iPhone 3G. For months they’ve been holding out that native chat applications are coming once the App Store opens in a week or two.

But is the new Gtalk Web app an indication that a dedicated client isn’t coming anytime soon — not just for Google Talk but for other chat services on the iPhone? Why would Google spend the time, money, and energy revamping its Web-based chat app if a native client is coming out in a week or two?

As it stands now, the new Gtalk Web app could be the slickest, greatest, most unbelievable chat solution for the iPhone and it still would be pretty useless. Nothing is more frustrating than engaging in a chat, answering the phone, losing the chat connection, then having to log in to chat all over again.

Do this more than a couple of times and you give up. No matter how good Gtalk for the iPhone is.

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

One Response to “Google releases new Gtalk Web app; what does it mean?”

  1. Bryan Bartow says:

    If you’ll remember, Apple announced a notification framework coming for the iPhone SDK that would allow an application to continue to receive messages while not running. Although the app would technically be closed, a chat app, for example, could continue to receive chats from the other party while you take a call, browse the web, etc. Apple said to expect this service to roll out in September if I remember correctly.

Leave a Reply