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Google Drops XMPP Support 416

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the do-not-evil-yeah-right dept.
Cbs228 writes "During last week's Google I/O conference, the company announced a replacement for its aging Talk instant messenger: Google Hangouts. Hangouts, which is only available for Android, iOS, and Chrome, offers closer integration with Google+. Unfortunately, the new product drops support for the XMPP instant messaging protocol, which has been an integral part of Talk for over ten years. XMPP delivers instant messages to desktop clients, like Pidgin, and enables communication between users on different instant messaging networks. Hangouts users attempting to communicate with contacts on non-Google servers, such as jabber.org, have found that all communications have been suddenly and inexplicably severed. A Google account is now required to communicate with Hangouts users. Google Hangouts joins the ranks of an already-crowded ecosystem of closed, incompatible chat products like Skype." Interesting, because Google Wave was based on XMPP and Google was integral to the creation of the Jingle extension that enabled video chatting over XMPP. Note that no end date has been set for Talk yet, but the end must surely be nigh given Google's recent history of axing products like Reader and CalDAV support from their calendar app without much notice.
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Google Drops XMPP Support

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  • not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by berashith (222128) on Monday May 20, 2013 @08:26PM (#43777697)

    My phone told me that an update to google talk was available, and that it would be replaced with hangouts. Google+ hasnt had a lot of traction with me, so I am not really sure if this is just going to be one less google product that I will be using now.

    • Re:not surprising (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Georules (655379) on Monday May 20, 2013 @09:42PM (#43778085)
      I find the new hangout app on android to be unusable. It looks nice, but there is no way to simply sort up to the top people who are online / available. This makes me a lot less likely to want to chat because I don't want to bother people who might be busy.

      The hangout thing in gmail is also pretty, but I could not find a way to disable the sounds. *BLING* every time my window is not focused.

      They are dropping reader, gchat is gimped. If they mess up gmail/calendar I might wonder why I even use google.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ozmanjusri (601766)

      Google+ hasnt had a lot of traction with me, so I am not really sure if this is just going to be one less google product that I will be using now.

      It's going to be a lot more interesting, and presumably compelling when it's completed. Hangouts isn't intended as a simple chat client replacement.

      Google dropping XMPP support is only mildly interesting, but the reason behind it is far more ambitious than TFA discusses. The Verge has a better article [theverge.com], but TLDR is that It's part of a long-term plan to change the way communication works on phones and computers.

      XMPP obviously won't be suitable for unifying so many different communication paths. Given Google's

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Monday May 20, 2013 @08:29PM (#43777711) Journal

    Ok, so Google Talk is going away at some point, everyone I talk to who uses a different tool will no longer be reachable with "Hangouts", and I'll be confined only to my excruciatingly small circle of Google+ friends...

    Why should I use Hangouts? It talks to only a few people in my circle of friends, all of whom also have accounts with some non-google resource.

    Wouldn't this be yet another reason to abandon Google+? I mean, it's great 'n all, but almost nobody I know uses it. Which kinda defeats the purpose of a social network. It's like, let's invent a social network for hermits. Nobody talks to you, but that's what, you know, is supposed to happen. I haven't heard of anything so useless since the Anarchists Union.

    • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Monday May 20, 2013 @08:33PM (#43777725) Homepage Journal
      Non-Google Jabber accounts are less common than Google accounts, so I'm guessing most people won't notice. It certainly can't help, though, since it'll drive away non-Chrome users. As well as everyone who fears Google+ for its real name policy controversy junk.
      • by Hadlock (143607)

        That's not the point, the point is that if Google+ (or whatever they're naming their "standard") isn't open, then the cottage industry of third party IM clients (some of them are actually pretty decent) would roll over and die.

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday May 20, 2013 @09:00PM (#43777865) Journal

          That's not the point, the point is that if Google+ (or whatever they're naming their "standard") isn't open, then the cottage industry of third party IM clients (some of them are actually pretty decent) would roll over and die.

          That's what puzzles me about the move: If Google said '95% of 3rd party XMPP servers are spam bots, we aren't doing federation unless you are a Google Apps customer or otherwise verifiably unlikely to do something dramatically stupid', that'd be annoying but not wildly surprising. Dropping XMPP entirely, though, both kills 3rd-party clients and suggests that they were either unable to shoehorn what they wanted into XMPP(even as a proprietary extension, with the standardized subset allowing partial compatibility), or they saw breaking compatibility as a virtue.

          I suspect that federation(at least outside of paying customers, who are both more important to listen to, and less likely to be spambots), is viewed as more trouble than it's worth; but dropping XMPP entirely is an entirely different game.

    • by Cryacin (657549)

      I mean, it's great 'n all, but almost nobody I know uses it. Which kinda defeats the purpose of a social network

      The anti-social network?

      • by Pseudonym (62607)

        Actually, there are several degenerate cases of social networks which could be thought of as anti-social.

        First, there's the romantic option of a social network with only two members [zefrank.com]. Then, there's the narcissistic option of a social network with only one member. A true anti-social network, however, would have no members.

        Excuse me while I go register nullspace.com.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BrokenHalo (565198)

        The anti-social network?

        Well, there's something to be said for that. I have no particular desire to be part of Google's ecosystem, and I'm certainly not going to start using their products if I can't depend on them still being there tomorrow or the day after. Google is developing quite a habit of pulling the rug from under its users, and we shouldn't reward that.

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday May 20, 2013 @08:40PM (#43777759) Journal

      If the majority of your GTalk contact list are people from other XMPP/Jabber servers, you're in a tiny minority of overall users.

      Most people using GTalk these days are doing so because it came on their Android phone, and they needed a Google account to buy apps. Most of their contacts are in the same boat. They may not be aware that this Google account they have is also a G+ account, and that's precisely what Google is pushing for here - notice that one of the features Hangout adds is the ability to send freshly snapped photos, and the way it does it is by means of a G+ photo album...

      • by Pseudonym (62607) on Monday May 20, 2013 @09:17PM (#43777965)

        Most people using GTalk these days are doing so because it came on their Android phone, and they needed a Google account to buy apps.

        Most people I know are using Google Talk because it works anywhere. It has an Android client, and a MacOS client (Messages), and a Linux client (typically Pidgin), and even a web client which works if you're behind a corporate firewall.

        Admittedly, most people I know aren't most people. Nonetheless, dropping XMPP makes Google Talk much, much less useful.

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        I think the main reason people use a protocol that works with gtalk (including gtalk) is that of the tools with the highest name recognition, gtalk is the most well known that isn't a spambot generator (yahoo messenger) or isn't confined to Apple gear (whatever Apple uses). I think Microsoft has something and I think AOL is still out there, but of the tools with name recognition, gtalk is the most likely choice.

        Although, less now.

        I mean, at my work, my group all ran out and got google accounts, even the Ap

    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwaterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday May 20, 2013 @08:45PM (#43777791) Homepage

      Why should I use Hangouts? It talks to only a few people in my circle of friends, all of whom also have accounts with some non-google resource.

      I'm asking myself the same question about Picasa - Google has made it very difficult to share pictures outside of their ecosystem.
       

      Wouldn't this be yet another reason to abandon Google+? I mean, it's great 'n all, but almost nobody I know uses it. Which kinda defeats the purpose of a social network. It's like, let's invent a social network for hermits. Nobody talks to you, but that's what, you know, is supposed to happen.

      Google has demonstrated, repeatedly, that they don't "get" social - and equally has demonstrated a stunning inability to learn from their past mistakes.

    • Ok, so Google Talk is going away at some point, everyone I talk to who uses a different tool will no longer be reachable with "Hangouts", and I'll be confined only to my excruciatingly small circle of Google+ friends

      ...calm down, Ignoring the fact that Google+ has 390Million Active accounts...or that Android has passed 900Million Activations (Facebook has 700Million Active users). It works straight from gmail which has over 425Million users...hell there is even an iPhone app. Hell you can load it up...and still chat to people only using talk!

      There are advantages to having a Google+ account, but its pretty limited...you can chat to 10 users at once. The bottom line though the success of Google+(growing faster than twitt

      • by samkass (174571) on Monday May 20, 2013 @09:04PM (#43777897) Homepage Journal

        ... Ignoring the fact that Google+ has 390Million Active accounts...

        I'll buy that if by "active" you mean "someone said I should try it so I signed up and checked it out for an afternoon" or "I was forced to join Google+ to read the messages of a Groups thread someone pointed me to" or "I have a Google+ account? When did that happen? Oh, I guess I accidentally signed me up yesterday!" then sure.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I was forced to join Google+ to read the messages of a Groups thread someone pointed me to

          https://addons.mozilla.org/en/firefox/addon/bugmenot/
          http://www.mailinator.com/ (Use the alternate domains if necessary.)

          You're welcome. :)

      • by flimflammer (956759) on Monday May 20, 2013 @09:05PM (#43777901)

        ...calm down, Ignoring the fact that Google+ has 390Million Active accounts

        Which doesn't mean a whole lot, since having a Google account at all now is basically a Google+ account. Signing up for Youtube means you are an "Active" google+ account.

        • Which doesn't mean a whole lot, since having a Google account at all now is basically a Google+ account. Signing up for Youtube means you are an "Active" google+ account.

          Actually it does not. I have a YouTube account, but no Google+.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        I got an "active" google+ account.

        why? google played me. by "upgrading" my youtube account attached to gmail. that's right, pressed "yeah blabla use the realname" and *boom* I'm an "active" google+ user. it didn't make it clear. up until that point I had been able to avoid my gmail account from being turned into a g+ account. with extra effort.

        so the google+ userbase that they publicly tout is pretty much the number of gmail and youtube accounts in use.

        yeah, so to re-iterate: google+ account numbers are bul

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Keep in mind that you can *still* plug your Google Account credentials into any XMPP chat client and use that account to talk to others who have a Google Account. Google isn't -yet- pulling the plug on XMPP client support; they're pulling the plug on XMPP server-to-server federation.

      This move by Google is still a bowl of shit, but you retain the power to use the client (and plugins) of your choice when talking on the Google Network.

      • Just as long as the GTalk support in AIM still works. Its better than Google's crappy GTalk windows client, doesn't run in a web browser, and yes I still have family using ye olde AIM.
    • by icebike (68054)

      and I'll be confined only to my excruciatingly small circle of Google+ friends...

      Not, that part is wrong. The Hangouts replacement for Google Talk has no dependency on Google+.

      At least not yet, but it looks like its heading in that direction.

      It used to be that google was satisfied with simply and email address in exchange for all the advertising the dump on you.
      But its clear the bargain has changed and they want to know everything about you in exchange for that email address.

  • Closed protocol? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Monday May 20, 2013 @08:33PM (#43777723) Homepage Journal

    Does anyone know whether the new protocol will be undocumented or if it is documented, if there is any resemblance to xmpp? Hopefully Google will allow xmpp bridges.

    I am just worried that Google is trying to do more to force us to use their tools, rather than allowing us to use our favourite messaging clients., but with their service.

  • by jrumney (197329) on Monday May 20, 2013 @08:35PM (#43777731) Homepage

    It's news to me that Google is dropping iCal support from Calendar. The whole rationale for them dropping support for ActiveSync was that standards based iCalendar support was available and most devices support that now (ie noone uses Windows Phone, they are all using Android or iPhone). So does someone have a supporting reference for that, or is the Unknown Lamer just confused?

  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Monday May 20, 2013 @08:41PM (#43777771)
    Shame on you Google. I've used Gtalk since it was released. I don't care about the cross platform communication much, but do have a few friends that I know connected to me through other platform. I have convinced several rather computer illiterate friends to use Gtalk so that we could keep in touch by IMs and know when each other was available, introducing them to Google and getting them a Google account in the process. I have no interest in Google's "social media" offerings, or any social media platform for that matter, including Facebook (let the NSA get their info on me in other ways, I'm not going to do their job for them). I really don't even know what Google Hangouts is, but the name tells me that I don't want to know and I will not switch to it when Gtalk goes away (although that seems to not even be an option since my main desktops usually run Windows).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 20, 2013 @08:42PM (#43777775)

    I thought that what they were eliminating was XMPP federation, which is what's used to link all the different XMPP servers

    But that's a far cry from eliminating XMPP entirely. I understood that they were continuing to use XMPP, with some extensions, and since those extensions were not supported by others, they were disabling the federation to other systems.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 20, 2013 @08:44PM (#43777787)

    My friends and I used to be on Hotmail using MSN Messenger. Then we moved to Gmail when Messenger died, using Pidgin to keep everyone in the same circle (Yahoo, Gmail, and the few Hotmail stragglers). Now XMPP is gone, that leaves everyone looking for a new chat protocol, hopefully one within Pidgin.

    It feels a bit like an open chat registry might be the way to go, as companies phase out their support for pure chat clients. I still need to chat and Facebook isn't going to cut it.

    • by Seumas (6865)

      I always thought it was so weird when people used shit like MSN or Yahoo! for their chat. When someone gave me that as their IM contact, I would just tell them "look, I'm probably never going to end up talking to you, then, because I'm not going to setup an account on a proprietary service just to talk to one person".

    • by samkass (174571)

      I still need to chat and Facebook isn't going to cut it.

      Maybe not for you, but for most people I think it will. Most of the Internet users on the planet have Facebook accounts and it's increasingly the best way to chat or contact anyone. Google is pretty much just driving people back to Facebook with this. As long as it's all proprietary, you might as well go with the one with the biggest available group.

    • by cdl (902729) on Monday May 20, 2013 @09:16PM (#43777955)
      Actually, that's the nice thing about XMPP - there are LOTS of XMPP servers (sometimes also called Jabber servers). A list of public (free) servers can be found at https://list.jabber.at/ [jabber.at] The great thing about Jabber/XMPP (and the thing that Google just shut off), is that jabber servers can find each other on the net. Therefore, if you have an account as alice@jabber.org, and your friend has the account bob@example.com, you can message each other just as you do now. the XMPP server at jabber.org will find the XMPP server at example.com and give it your message for bob to deliver. It's just like e-mail - only in real (or close to) time.
    • I've been using AIM since the 90s... I was using the 5.9 version which was basically meant for Windows 98 because all it did was chat, opposed to their newer monstrosities. I only recently started using Trillian instead of the old aim client, which is just another client similar to Pidgin in functionality.

      I'm kind of curious how long AIM will last.

      • AIM 7.5 can link your Facebook and Google accounts and show them on the buddy list. Hopefully Google doesn't break the link, it actually works quite well if you like the AIM style interface.
  • It's not clear to me whether or not they're totally going to drop it.

    Still, I think this blows.

    • They're officialy dropping it. It was recently announced in an interview:
      http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/15/4318830/inside-hangouts-googles-big-fix-for-its-messaging-mess [theverge.com]
      (see video, circa 5:09)

    • by kwerle (39371)

      Several folks point out that they are "Replacing google talk with hangouts, which won't support xmpp."

      Right.

      I have a chat client that supports xmpp that I use with my gmail account. In my case that's ichat. Will my ichat client still be able to connect to a google xmpp server and do its thing? Note, this isn't a hangout client. I won't be able to talk to hangout users. But will I still be able to xmpp through google with other xmpp users?

  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Monday May 20, 2013 @08:52PM (#43777825) Journal

    Pretty soon they'll drop HTML support

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 20, 2013 @08:56PM (#43777845)

    The old days of Google acting as a good net citizen are long gone. Money always corrupts, and its envy of Facebook and Apple walled gardens became irresistible.

    Android is a sort of open garden, but Google got a taste of running a walled one with Android's Market/Play, and cemented its walls with Google+ and by making a full Google Account mandatory for it, Gmail's pseudonymous users absolutely not welcome. In the end, it'll be just another Facebook for a captive audience as advertising targets. Very profitable.

    Dropping XMPP is just part of this process. A window to the walled garden was open and it was allowing federation to be done out of control by the Google empire. Easy to see this block coming and the window being closed.

    The IETF specifically mentions interoperability as a founding goal in its Mission Statement. By dropping interoperability with other IM providers through XMPP, Google is making very clear where it now stands. It wants the whole cake, and being a good net citizen be damned.

  • This is a 180 degree term to their old philosophy of open source / open protocols.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 20, 2013 @10:30PM (#43778317)

      It's even more infuriating given:

      "I've personally been quite sad at the industry's behavior around all these things. If you take something as simple as IM, we've had an open offer to interoperate forever." - Larry Page, May 15, 2013

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cbhacking (979169)

        I don't usually say this, but mod this AC up! I don't know what the hell Larry is smoking, but it's like he's trapped inside a reversed RDF that completely hides the real world from him. Well, either that or he's the most two-faced liar I've seen outside of a career politician in years...

  • This is old news. This was one of the first comments on the "Google releases Hangouts" a few days ago.
    I've lost contact with about 40% of my contacts so far. Of those whom I can still talk to, about 20% use google with an xmpp client, and the other 40% are not google users (they use some other XMPP server).

  • by aaronmarks (873211) on Monday May 20, 2013 @09:26PM (#43778011) Homepage Journal

    This mostly comes down to a battle between 2x platforms: Google vs. Microsoft. I consider myself a pretty avid Microsoft supporter, but if you look at the facts, I kind of think that Microsoft started this fight by:

    1) Buying Skype and pitting Skype against Talk.
    2) Their Scroogled campaign that pitted Outlook against Gmail
    3) Connecting Outlook.com to the Talk API when Google would have preferred that Microsoft federate skype/outlook/hotmail/live/passport via XMPP.

    It's that third point surrounding XMPP federation that this all comes down to. When Microsoft decided to not federate via XMPP with the Outlook/Skype consumer products they were saying that they only wanted to establish 1-way communication with Google's platform. There is no doubt that this pissed Google off because Microsoft is trying to take away their market share while also taking advantage of their services and open architecture. Google's offered up XMPP for many years and Microsoft never connected until they had a mail product that was capable of trading market share (in one direction).

    Microsoft is clearly not against XMPP because they do support XMPP in their commercial IM product, Lync (which I'm a regular user of and competent in supporting/deploying). I've considered many scenarios but can't figure out why Microsoft wouldn't want to enable XMPP for its consumer products as a way of communicating with Google Talk contacts other than to discourage interoperability with their consumer products; e.g. keep everyone on Skype.

    I know that some might argue that Microsoft connected to Google the way they did so that it could pull over all of your Google Contacts and already authorized XMPP invites, but in my opinion they could have just showed you a list of all your current Google Talk XMPP contacts and asked you to place check marks next to any that you wanted to invite to your Microsoft Account contact list. With all that said, maybe its as simple as that someone in the right position at Microsoft failing to comprehend the scenario.

    • by dhavleak (912889)

      1) Buying Skype and pitting Skype against Talk.

      I think Skype was around quite a bit longer, so you'd have to put it the other way around -- Google realized Skype's potential and came up with a competitor. Microsoft realized Skype's potential as well, and purchased them.

      ...they could have just showed you a list of all your current Google Talk XMPP contacts and asked you to place check marks next to any that you wanted to invite to your Microsoft Account contact list...

      As of today's announcement from Google, they would have done all that work in vain. Perhaps MS realized that Google's commitment to XMPP was not something that could be relied upon?

    • by Vintermann (400722) on Tuesday May 21, 2013 @03:10AM (#43779221) Homepage

      This was it. I remember from the I/O keynote, complaints about Microsoft exploiting some open standard to establish one-way compatibility, but I couldn't remember the details. Thanks. This comment ought to be at the top, it's most likely the reason XMPP support was dropped.

  • This isn't evil; it's stupid. It's not even embrace/extend/extinguish. It's embrace/back_off/get_forgotten. Google is kidding themselves if they think anyone cares about .. what's the name of their obscure niche chat product again?

    • Hangouts. And yes, it would be forgotten pretty quickly if you could call your hangouts contacts on skype, but not your skype contacts on hangouts. Which is exactly how Microsoft used Google's XMPP support.

  • Seriously Google needs to look at how much shaving off the Do no Evil badge will impair their brand.
    Personally there are three products I use and think are important from Google.
    1) Google search - best search I know.
    2) Being able to ask a query (Google search) through the browser address bar, hence Chrome.
    3) Chrome - best browser I know (Mac)

    These are very heavily counterbalanced by the very close to evil if not evil level of disregard for / productization of private information.
    I also am feeling fatigue fr

    • Personally there are three products I use and think are important from Google

      Ignore the poor use of "Do no evil" without showing evidence of the sucking the blood of virgins, or getting naked people to eat fruit.

      The products that I think are important, are Chrome OS - Hell the desktop needs more love, Android for obvious reasons(900 Million activations). I'm not even mentioning maps...or gmail...or youtube...the list just goes on. Hell I actually their most game changing product is actually Google Apps for Business. I am going to ignore the Nexus range/Glass/Q/Driverless Car?. Searc

  • Apparently google is quickly striving to catch up to AOL having not received the walled garden memo some 20 years ago.

    Come on google... don't be stuck in the past.. throw away your crufty ole legacy support for POP3, IMAP and acceptance of SMTP messages from the few third party domains who dare not use gmail. It will be great.

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