I just came across my first review of Google Talk shortly after it was released in 2005. It’s painful to reprint this but it cracked me up to see it again.
10/16/2005 – GOOGLE TALK SUCKS: There, I said it. I’ve had Google’s new IM client since the day it was released and I just have one thing to say about it. It sucks. Do you want to know why it sucks? Because nobody fucking uses it! Everyone’s been using AIM or Yahoo or MSN Messenger, and who the hell wants to switch.
I love gTalk’s UI. I like the fact that there aren’t ads everywhere and the chat windows are simple and clean. But what good is it when you can’t talk to anyone on it? Yeah you can make PC to PC calls, but Skype pretty much had the market locked up on that one and now you can do that with Yahoo! Messenger too.
When gTalk came out there were a few people that downloaded it, then slowly but surely they stopped showing up as online. Of course this could be less that gTalk sucks and more that people just really dislike me, but I’m dismissing that notion for the sake of this story.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Google believer. I like their products, I’m a gmail junkie. I just can’t keep justifying keeping an IM client that no one I know is using. Admittedly, it’s hard to switch IM clients. You have your entire contact list already, and unless you can convince everyone of them to make the switch with you, being an gTalk pioneer can be a lonely, lonely venture.
Do you think gTalk is too plain for people? Do other people like the flash and the smiley crap that’s on all the other clients? Maybe so, but until Google can come up with some better incentives they’re gTalk is going to be sucking more daily. Especially now that Yahoo and MSN have announced their plans to make their IM clients compatible. gTalk is in for some hard times unless it can convince people to switch. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening anytime in the near future.
Now, the company I work for still uses AIM, but other than that I literally don’t communicate with anyone via IM unless it’s with Google Talk. I guess I just needed to learn more patience.
Things are different now, I have a tiny bit more clout when it comes to my circle of friends and collegues, so rather than rant at the lack of use of new technology, I just take my time, learn it and decide whether or not it’s something that I find useful and productive. If it’s something I like I spend more of my time teaching people how to use it and how it can benefit them and make them more productive.