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gTalk To Get Video Boost? 89

lotusleaf writes "According to an article at PCWorld, "Google Inc. has bought video conferencing software from Marratech AB", "The client software runs on Windows 2000 or XP, Mac OS X 10.4, or versions of Linux". Could this provide a cross-platform video conferencing boost to gTalk?"
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gTalk To Get Video Boost?

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  • Skype (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bcmm ( 768152 ) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @12:40PM (#18832477)
    Hopefully this will let Skype start quietly dieing the way it should have when it started providing video support for Windows clients only...
    • Re:Skype (Score:5, Interesting)

      by imamac ( 1083405 ) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @12:44PM (#18832513)
      Agreed. There is a serious lack of crossplatform video conferenceing software that actually works well on all platforms. One can only hope Google is up to the challenge. Though if any company can do it, it's probably them...
      • by miscz ( 888242 )
        How about SIP [] apps []? The problem is that voice/video conferencing market is dominated by Skype (with their closed protocol) and most people won't make a move to a new platform.
        • by xtracto ( 837672 )
          Agree, I really would like to see gTalk adding video, not because I will move (in order to use gTalk I would need to convince all the people I talk to in Skype to move... and I just wont) but because maybe skype will wake up and provide video support for linux... that will be sweet and will make me move to Ubunty 7 (provided that it now works with my wireless chip :P)
          • The program can handle chat to most mainstream IM applications. This program allows for voice chat, easy file transfer and now is about to add video capabilities...

            ...but there's still no "send" button.

            GAH YOU GOOGLE for forcing me to reach for my keyboard!!!
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by It'sYerMam ( 762418 )
              What were you just using to type your gTalk message with, if not the keyboard?
              • by maxume ( 22995 )
                I kind of thought that he implied that he used a microphone to send his voice.
                • Things you need to enter for that doesn't require the keyboard initially:
                  1. Copying and pasting text
                  2. Drag and dropping text
                  3. Dragging and dropping pictures

                  I mostly use gtalk to send links of cool sites I find all day to a coworker/friend. Right click the link, cut, right click in gtalk, paste.....enter key? I want a button!
                  • Fair dos. Presumably the decision was made based on average usage, deemed to be that of someone typing. For me, a send button is just clutter, really. Especially since I usually have one hand on the keyboard all the time.
                  • by miscz ( 888242 )
                    Sometimes I think that's the reason Enter key on numpad is easy to press with your thumb even when using a mouse :)
      • Re:Skype (Score:5, Insightful)

        by laffer1 ( 701823 ) <luke@ f o o l i s h g a m> on Sunday April 22, 2007 @01:14PM (#18832685) Homepage Journal
        I doubt google will support all platforms. At best, maybe windows, mac os and linux. People forget about PDAs, BSDs, Solaris, ecomstation, cell phones, game consoles, etc. There are a lot of platforms in this world.

        Windows, Mac OS and Linux are not the only platforms. Its really funny to hear people complain about software support on their platform. Windows users complain if it does work on every version of windows, or at least the one they like. Mac users complain about windows only software but tout their platform as superior if they happen to get a Mac only product. Linux users try to say Windows and Linux or Windows, Mac, Linux without remembering they are an open source platform. I remember when we were all in this together. Now that linux has commercial support from IBM and other firms its now OK to ignore every other open source OS on the planet. From my perspective, the only thing Linux is missing is games. You already have the video drivers to play them.

        If google were smart, they'd take the approach Netscape did years ago and port to everything possible. Remember Netscape shipped for linux, solaris, irix, hp-ux, windows, mac os, and a slew of other platforms. There was even an OS/2 version. I can't think of a single company that is not open source that ships on that many platforms today.
      • []

        PC and Mac. The interface is terrible but the video codec is by far the best thing out there. The problem I have with iChat and Skype is that though they may claim 30fps video, it feels like it's much less. When I'm using sightspeed, it feels like I'm seeing the other person on TV (natural motion and lip sync but admittedly snowier). I can't say the same for the codecs in ichat and skype; to me they are reminiscent of the the 'live' footage we saw during operation enduring freedom.
    • Re:Skype (Score:5, Informative)

      by abigor ( 540274 ) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @01:06PM (#18832635)
      Skype video works great in OS X also. I use it all the time.
      • by bcmm ( 768152 )
        MacOS support came a long time after Windows support. Linux support still isn't done and isn't generally talked about.
    • Re:Skype (Score:5, Informative)

      by lordholm ( 649770 ) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @01:10PM (#18832669) Homepage
      I just had a video conference with my mother over Skype. She use Windows and I am using a Mac. That is, your post is wrong in that it is only for windows.

      However, the Mac implementation is rather buggy and one have to restart Skype occasionally when the video stops working, but it is working more or less. Despite this, it is actually the only realistic alternative to cross platform video conferencing at the moment.
      • OpenWengo (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Check out []. It's a Free Software SIP client that provides working, cross-platform audio/video chatting. It's written by a French company. They make money by providing the ability to call phone numbers. I've used it and while it's got a few rough edges, it works well on Debian and Windows.
  • by porkThreeWays ( 895269 ) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @12:47PM (#18832535)
    I was thinking the other day... in the past 2 years google has bought A LOT of companies, technologies, and created new ones. I thought there's no way they could be a profitable company right now. Well I checked google's Q1 profits and they are actually up 68% to 1 billion a quarter. I know there will be a lot of posts that google is becoming a one hit wonder. Perhaps... but I think if they've got their financials in such good order they've really separated themselves from the dot bomb's of the 2000's. Just a thought...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Lots and lots of expensive ads.
    • Yes Google excels at it's core advertising business which comes from search. Most of the great acquisitions since then haven't added to the bottom line. That said the hosted Google Apps package may come good. Otherwise Google is a one trick pony which peculiarly spends most of its R&D budget outside of its core revenue market !
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by suv4x4 ( 956391 )
        Otherwise Google is a one trick pony which peculiarly spends most of its R&D budget outside of its core revenue market !

        Wait a minute.. We're on to something. So Google has one single core business which makes it profits, and keeps spending R&D on other initiatives, and entering late in markets by buying other companies which are already there.

        Where the heck is this familiar from.. Anyone help?
        • It might remind you of Microsoft, and would be exactly the same except for one small problem, Microsoft has been able to gain monopolies in a lot of the other areas it expanded into (such as browser, word, etc). Google, not so much.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RGRistroph ( 86936 )
      Google has always hyped itself, and been hyped, as an incredibly productive and creative organization. All this talk of 20% of time on independent projects, etc.

      However, a lot of Google's recent history consists of buying other businesses, not of developing cool stuff themselves. They bought youtube, blogger, jotspot, writely, measure map, and now Marratech and of course Doubleclick.

      This is not reminiscent of a "skunkworks" full of geniuses producing cutting edge technology. Rather, it is more reminisce
      • I was in Silicon Valley in the 1990s and Microsoft did buy up a number of players, one of whom had developed a fantastic MPEG4 based video codec. It could do all kinds of amazing things that even today's codecs cannot do - such as embedded data, like graphs, text and more. MS ended up with the lacklustre Windows Media player. Doing nothing with the technology they purchased. MS and others often make a purchase to block their competitors or prevent the companies they buy from becoming a threat. Of course, no
      • by Felius ( 56017 )
        <advocate type="devil">
        Perhaps, if you have cash to burn, acquiring startups is simply the most efficient means of getting hold of more smart people..
  • SIP/H.264 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by good soldier svejk ( 571730 ) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @12:49PM (#18832555)
    A cursory reading of the product FAQ reveals it is SIP based and supports H.264. Hopefully means that Mac users will be able to use iChat as a gTalk client, since it uses the same protocols and codec. Better yet, this could mean real standardization.
    • Re:SIP/H.264 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 222 ( 551054 ) <> on Sunday April 22, 2007 @01:19PM (#18832719) Homepage
      Agreed. This is something often overlooked when there is a discussion about Google, but its willingness to develop on open standards for multiple platforms should serve as a model for the tech industry.

      While a number of scenarios have dinged their "Do no evil" approach, I'll take Google over any day.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by l0cust ( 992700 )

        I'll take Google over any day.
        So google is... funday ?
        • by 222 ( 551054 )
          I had originally typed I'll take Google over any day, but HTML formatting must have seen it as an invalid tag. I suppose I should have used the preview button o.O
    • Ummm.... (Score:3, Informative)

      Actually, if you have OS X 10.4 you can add a Jabber account to iChat.

      I added my gTalk account to iChat, and I can video chat with other Mac users using the same setup.

      Hey! Google even has a help page about this! nswer=24076 []
      • Umh yeah... I do that too. However, since gTalk doesn't currently support AV, you can't use the AV features of iChat. My point was that this product uses the same core technologies as iChat for AV, SIP and h.264. So if Google uses it as a basis for gTalk AV, there is a high probability of AV compatibility. And more importantly, it would cement a standard with which iChat is compatible. Currently there is no concensus on what jabber AV should look like, although jingle [] is good a basis.
        • you can't use the AV features of iChat.
          Should have previewed. I meant you can't use them to talk to non-Mac gTalk users. Of course you can talk to other iChat users. You can do that over any jabber server. Or over AIM for that matter.
      • by tuxic ( 769908 ) *
        I do exactly that myself too. I'm a Macbook owner who chatted with two other Macbook owners over built-in iSight video, all of us using GTalk with iChat and we were all in all three people videochatting + audio with each other at the same time, with great quality since one of them had his connection on 100 Mbit down/10 Mbit up, participant number two had ADSL2+ and I had ADSL2+ as well, all using the same ISP. I highly recommend GTalk for audio, video regardless of client choice, but especially iChat is op
  • Congrats Marratech (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gnurfed ( 1051140 ) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @01:17PM (#18832701)
    As I attended Luleå university of Technology as a CS student when the technology was developed, I got to use the software from its infancy. Before I graduated they started recording lectures with the system (with video and slides), so you could either follow it live from home (and of course ask questions to the lecturer) or review it later. Cool shit which is probably a lot cooler today. The Marratech crew were all true nerds (meant as a compliment, of course) and they really deserved this success. Hmmm.. They're probably all slashdotters and reading this, so GRATTIS! (congrats)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ltjohhed ( 231735 )
      It's good to see that the development of Marratech has gotten in touch with the real world in the last couple of years. This wasn't all the case when the product was released in the mid/late 90's. A product which assumed that everyone had 100Mbit switched multicast routing enabled networks, and of course a 100Mbit internet access.

      Although being a geeky developer is often a good thing, the academic world somethimes clashes hard with the 'real world'.

      However the product has evolved, and now we have gotten our
  • It sounds like an excellent alternative to Skype since their video chat software is still in beta. Marratech's profits are made from its software, though, so I wonder how the company could earn money if Google made the software available free on gTalk? I'm not a businessman nor am I too familiar with how Google deals with companies that it's purchased, so if the question's been answered pay no heed.

    It would be interesting to know if Google employees could transfer to Sweden, though. :D
  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Sunday April 22, 2007 @01:24PM (#18832755) Homepage Journal
    Then Google would have a very efficient and very powerful voice/video application. And tehe only thing missing is Linux support for the cilent - there's Win/OSX/Linux versions of the room server software, one just needs to add in a Linux client and that would be that.
    • by l0cust ( 992700 )
      I don't know about Camfrog(and you did not provide a link + I am feeling lazy) but if its really as good as you say it is then I am glad they did not buy it. The more the number of competent players in a field, the greater the chances that everyone tries to improve their application as much and as quickly as possible.
      • by Khyber ( 864651 )
        Http:// is what you're after, grab it and test it with me if you want, my nickname on there is Colossus_Hunter. There's an OSX and Windows client, and a Linux/OSX/Windows server to download. Bear in mind, this is the ONLY software I've paid for in many years after testing it thoroughly ($50 for the pro client and $200 for the pro server) It's nice to be able to see a hundred people at once, quite fluidly (depending upon your downstream and their upload and the server's upload) chatting away i
        • by l0cust ( 992700 )
          Thanks for the link. I will give it a shot once I get some free time.
          About the problems you mentioned, I can't comment on them as anything I say about them right now will be mere conjectures and speculations.
          • by Khyber ( 864651 )
            Tell me when you have Camfrog, and let me know your nickname on the program. Mine's Colossus_Hunter
  • So soon? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Duncan3 ( 10537 ) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @02:29PM (#18833175) Homepage
    I wasn't aware there were still IM clients that didn't have video anymore. Nice to see gTalk catching up to ~2003 I suppose. Odd that with an army of PhD's, Google seems to have to buy all their tech elsewhere and is still years behind.

    Doesn't anyone else think this is a little strange?
    • by Scutter ( 18425 )
      Well, there's nothing worth mentioning for linux...

      Oh, Ekiga? The one that claims to work in 99% of cases but somehow won't go through open NAT firewalls or businesses with port-restricted firewalls? Yeah, what else you got?
    • Agreed.

      Even more disturbing is the fact that this technology is only to be used internally... ie google talk stays in the year 2000.

      It seems odd that with such a huge amount of grey matter in that company that their IM application is not up to scratch. I really expect more from Google, maybe they should stop buying technology and write decent applications themselves, or at least improve the technology they buy so it includes the same features that their competitors have included for years.

    • Google has integrated Talk into Gmail, and its seemless from The browser to the desktop app. Thats more convienent than MSN or Yahoo.

      I use Gtalk all the time, its small, lightweight, and not bloated with crap, it takes up at max 40 megs of memory, wheras MSN idles at 80mb.
  • Now they're going to offer a feature where they can record, transcribe and make searchable all of your video chats... No privacy issues here...
  • LibJingle (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jbond23 ( 525878 )
    It's now 18 months since the LibJingle announcement. And yet there's still no sign of anyone except Google using it. GTalk still looks like an Alpha. The whole IM market is still hopelessly fractured with very little chat interop between IM systems and virtually no interop for voice and video. I really hoped that GTalk and LibJingle would lead to a link up between Google, Apple, AIM, Gaim, Jabber and all the 3rd party clients. There was even a press release where Google and Skype were talking about gateway
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Google interops with for chat and will have voice real soon.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      PSI has Jingle support, but not yet in an official release. See [], and someone has made a fork of Psi called Jabbin [] that has libjingle in their releases. Since Gaim/Pidgin has finally gotten AOL off their backs, I would expect something from them Real Soon Now (and AdiumX will most likely follow in their footsteps due to libpurple), and I've heard Kopete will try to have jingle in by KDE4
  • On these days gTalk only support VOIP on Windows systems, and the projects that support the VOIP protocol of Google for Linux for example, stay on develop and not represent a really option. What's the idea with make support for video and voice for only one (and propietary) platform? I think google is making evil on this side of the business.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Kopete should have decent support for it once KDE 4.0 is officially released. These things take time. I actually appreciate the fact that Google is funding some of this work through SOC scholarships, rather than creating a brand new client.

      In other words, they are working to integrate their work into existing projects, rather than create a close-source monolithic client for linux.
  • TFA [] reports For now, Google plans to use the software internally, as a tool for its employees, the spokesman said, declining to speculate whether Google might later try to market the technology or integrate it into one of its commercial products. Should Google decide to market or integrate the technology into its products, the move would be seen as another in a string of recent steps taking Google into the sphere of collaborative work tools.

    They're only then saying maybe for regular users!

  • file transfer (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by hey ( 83763 )
    I'd prefer if the Jabber clients could get file transfer working first.
    (For users on all side of filewalls.)
    Maybe Google can kickstart this by using one way of doing it.
  • Misleading Summary (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mpapet ( 761907 ) on Sunday April 22, 2007 @04:52PM (#18834225) Homepage
    The entire summary is filled with misconceptions.

    1. SIP client protocol has been implemented for every desktop. Windows/Mac/Gnome-ekiga/kde-twinkle and kphone.
    2. Multiple SIP servers are open, and Free AND integrate with Google's IM platform. (openser being generally excellent, there are a number of others)
    3. Conference bridges are open and Free and work nicely through most clients.
    4. Nortel-style phone systems are still absurdly priced.

    The SIP protocol should revolutionize communication. The thing holding everyone back in the U.S. is the telco patent portfolio. The message waiting indicator has been litigated, the claims AT&T successfully made against Vonage are ridiculous.

    I predict Google will be in court with AT&T over VOIP-related patents in very short order.
  • Instead of this video chat support, why not implement group voice chatting? I think that speaking to more than one other person at the same time via Gtalk is a lot more useful than speaking to one person and being able to see them. Sure, I could just use Vent or XFire, but I think that many people wouldn't have to use them if GTalk had the group voice feature.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham