Google's ability to generate buzz is nearly as great as its ability to search the Web. Within hours of launching the new Google Talk service, third-party developers are announcing products to improve the security and functionality of Google's new offering.
Facetime Communications announced a security application for Google Talk, an issue that will be critical for enterprise users. Although Google Inc. hasn't announced file download capability for its own chat client, there are other Jabber-compatible clients that do, a function that can open a huge security hole in an otherwise tightly protected enterprise network.
RTGuardian and IMAuditor, the company's two IM security products support the XMPP protocol that powers Google Talk. The two applications will be adapted to the specific requirements of the Google Talk network by the end of the month.
IM security isn't the only important ingredient for protecting enterprise networks. In addition to risking attack from viruses, worms and spyware, companies that fail to provide adequate protection against having intruders compromise their networks through the "back doors" of IM programs may be violating the strict and confusing requirements of the Sarbanes Oxley law, which can lead to criminal penalties.
Another rapid announcement came from LiveOffice Inc., maker of IMConferencing, an online meeting service that competes with applications such as Webex, Microsoft Corp.'s LiveMeeting and Elluminate. LiveOffice will add Google Talk connections to its IMConferencing platform, which is designed to give meeting hosts and participants a richer set of features while smoothly connecting from their preferred IM client. The new functionality is scheduled be available in the fourth quarter of 2005.
While other conferencing providers weren't as quick to make public announcements, it's clear that all competitors in that market expect to accommodate Google Talk users as the program's installed base grows.
Since Google Talk will be built on the open-source Jabber protocol, which is already supported by quite a few of the leading names in online conferencing, most of those providers are only a few short steps away from offering Google Talk connections.
"We believe that the business computing environment is a really heterogeneous computing environment, and we support that kind of choice," said Colin Smith, spokesman for Webex, "so we do plan to support all the major IM clients and enable those people to invite people into the meeting in that IM client."
In the few dozen hours since Google Talk went live, stories are already appearing online about how the new service doesn't yet connect successfully with non-Google Jabber users. The Google Talk FAQ implies that this may be because Internet DNS records are not yet configured to support the service, although it's not clear whether that's a permanent situation.
"Many Jabber clients should 'just work' with Google Talk," says Peter St. Andre, Executive Director of the Jabber Software foundation, however "they haven't turned on 'server-to-server' functionality yet, so Google Talk is not yet part of the open Jabber/XMPP network, but Google has committed to interoperability through federation with other XMPP servers once they figure out the best way to make that happen in a secure fashion."
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