Chat bots can be fun or useful, but until now, deploying and maintaining a chat bot for Google Talk was difficult. Google has announced a new XMPP API that makes it easier to build your own chat bots with the Google App Engine.
The XMPP support lets you create apps that exchange messages with users on any XMPP system, including of course Google Talk, but any Jabber network. Where it gets really interesting is the built-in XMPP support for the fast-approaching Google Wave, which will be rolling out to a larger beta group at the end of September. This means that you’ll be able to use the XMPP API to build bots that interact with your Waves.
For all the details, read the API release notes.
The growing popularity of mobile phones with GPS and other location technology led to the recent launch of Google Latitude — a cool tool that lets you choose to share your geographic location with your contacts.
Now Google has announced a couple tools that let you share that information — with fairly generic location — with your contacts via Gmail and Google Talk.
Note that Latitude is not yet supported by all phones, even if they have built-in GPS. Access Latitude on the iPhone and today you’ll get a “Coming Soon” message. Didn’t those go out of style in the 90′s, shortly after “Under Construction” pages?
Currently Google Latitude will work with Android-powered devices such as the T-Mobile G1, most color BlackBerry phones, most Windows Mobile 5.0+ and Symbian S60 (Nokia) smartphones. And soon (we are promised) the iPhone.
But if your phone is supported, you can setup Google Latitude, then give the Google Talk location status a try.
What does Google Talk Location Status actually do? Not much, really. It auto-detects your location and then changes your Google Talk status to the city you are currently in. In other words, no need to worry that Google will rat you out when you tell the missus you have a late night at the office.
And for those privacy freaks who are worried that Big Brother is watching, remember this: just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they are not out to get you.
And for those of you who can’t share enough, you can also check out the new Google Public Location Badge that you can embed on your blog or web page. Pretty much the same idea as Google Talk Location Status, but with a pretty map to go with it.
Google Talk is a service offered by Google for Voice over IP and instant messaging. Google Talk beta was released on August 24, 2005 and consists of both a service and a client used to connect to the service. Unlike some other instant messaging services, Google Talk uses an open protocol (Jabber) for the IM part and it encourages the use of clients other than their own in connecting to the Google Talk service.
As of the launch date, the Google Talk client is available only for Windows (2000, XP, Server 2003); users of other operating systems are provided with instructions for various popular Jabber clients, such as Psi or Miranda IM for older versions of Microsoft Windows, iChat or Adium for Mac OS X and Gaim for Linux. However, any program capable of using the Jabber protocol is sufficient, although the voice over IP service only works with the Google client.
Google has announced that a major goal of the Google Talk service is interoperability. Google Talk uses Jabber and XMPP to provide real-time extensible messaging and presence events, including offline messaging (though only through non-Google clients like Adium). Google Talk now supports federation with other Jabber servers, allowing you to send and receive IMs to other Jabber users with non-Google Talk accounts. If you are registered on a Jabber server with transports for other IM networks (AIM, Yahoo, MSN, etc.) you can even incorporate those contacts on your Google Talk list. It’s not officially supported, but it does work. Read Connecting Google Talk to AIM, MSN & Yahoo!
On December 15th 2005, Google released libjingle, a C++ library to implement Jingle, “a set of extensions to the IETF’s Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) for use in voice over IP (VoIP), video, and other peer-to-peer multimedia sessions.”
Google Talk does not encrypt the Jabber stream, instead using an undocumented non standard way of authenticating to the service, retrieving a token from a secure web server. Other clients than Google’s own are required to secure their streams with TLS before sending the password, causing them to stay encrypted throughout the whole session. Google claims that all messages (text and voice) will be encrypted in future releases.
Offline messages are not supported so far and the configuration options available are very limited.
- You can change the font size by focusing your mouse cursor either on the message window or input box, holding the control key down, and spinning the scroll wheel.
- Use the keyboard: Pressing Tab cycles through conversations in each stack and the main window. Ctrl+Tab or Shift+Tab cycles backwards.
- When you see a message notification, you can right click it to close it without focusing the conversation window.
- To make something bold, you must place an asterisk before and after the area you want to bold: *example* turns to example
- If you want to italicize something, you must place underscores around the area you want to italicize: _example_ turns to example
- Between one set of ‘*’s or ‘_’s, you can have up to and including 100 characters. If you exceed this number of characters, the effect will not take place and you will get normal text with the * or _ symbols visible at either end
- Typing a smiley like and in an IM window will make it turn bold blue like: and . Other valid smileys are :O :’( :-O .
- If you use the Chat functionality in Gmail, many of these are now converted to animated emoticons. See Google Talk Gets Graphical Smilies for all the codes.
- Preceding text with a symbol from the Hebrew alphabet, such as ห and ๆ, makes text bold and large.
- Surrounding text with and // makes text clickable like a link but does not lead to any url.
These tips are a feature of the Google client and not Jabber in general. They will not work with all third party clients.