Google plans to launch an instant messaging service based on open-source Jabber technology.

The LA Times predicts such a service (Google Talk) could launch as soon as Wednesday, and that it will allow direct, Internet-based voice communications between users.

Reuters adds that the use of Jabber could make the service compatible with other existing services, including iChat.

It also observes that Google's foray could potentially place the company up against Skype in terms of voice over IP.