As expected, Google is launching Google Talk, its instant messaging application.

Available initially only as a downloadable Windows application, the software lets Gmail users to talk or message friends at no charge.
"At Google, we’re continually investing in areas where we can make technological change, and we recognize the importance of efficient instant communications and information exchange," said Georges Harik, director of product management at Google.

"Google Talk further enriches our users’ communications experience, whether they choose to communicate via email, IM, or a call.”
Features include: superior voice quality through just a computer microphone and speaker; a simple user interface; and access to a user’s Gmail contacts list.

Gmail users can download Google Talk by visiting

Tell your friends

In a similar viral way to that in which Gmail was made available, users can invite others to the service. Those invited to Google Talk also receive a free Gmail account.
The company says: “Google believes that users should have a choice in what applications they use for communication”. The service is built using open standards, and is compatible with any IM client that uses such standards, including: Trillian, Adium, iChat, GAIM, and Psi.
Google states that it is committed to working with other service providers to create a federation model that enables users on any member network to talk to users on any other member network. It is currently working with EarthLink to federate with their Vling communications service and with Sipphone on federating their Gizmo Project.
Greater Availability of Gmail

Google Talk requires a Gmail username and password. From today, Google is making it easier for US users with access to a mobile phone to sign up for an account. “When users visit and enter their mobile phone number, they will receive an invitation code via a text message. This code enables them to open an account,” Google explains.