ralphm's blog

Wednesday, 31 August 2005

Google listening to Talk

Jabbering on and on...

In the week after Google launced Google Talk, much has happened. Many applauded the effort, but there was also a lot of criticism. The latter mostly about the current lack of federation with the existing Jabber network. Yet. This is a beta, and they haven't coded the server-to-server (s2s) stuff so far. Many were disappointed or plain angry. But there was the promise of wanting to federate with other services, not limited to the Jabber universe.

So, there we are, a lot of calls for federation. According to Joe Beda more than they expected. People in the Jabber Community started making guesses about the terms and conditions for allowing federation with Google Talk. It spurned a lot of traffic on the standards, development and JSF member mailinglists, mostly about spim, trust, server certificates. So this is a good thing, we needed to do that anyway, and the release of Google Talk just accelerated that.

Google allows, and promotes, any Jabber implementation connecting to their network. There are already lots of client and library implementations in every language and for every platform you can imagine. Combined with the openness of our protocols, talk about a dream start for providing APIs. Smart. Unlike some VOIP application.

Google Talk implements XMPP as specified by the RFCs, along with some custom protocol for the voice part. They encourage the use of TLS and SASL for authentication. This is a good thing, and hopefully encourages library developers to bring their code up to par. Personally I'm working on this for the Jabber support in Twisted, with the help of tofu. Also, ff let me know his would love to merge his Twisted based Twibber into the Twisted Jabber support I maintain. More on that later.

Google listens to our Talk. This morning I saw a message by one of the Talk developers, Gary Burd, on the jdev mailinglist, basically saying hi. He also let us know that they updated the statement on federation on the developers page, emphasizing that they desire open federation. Still some work in the abuse-prevention department in our greatier community.

Also, I got a personal reply to a message that pointed out a minor flaw in their server. They fixed it. I know there are some other links between our community and the Google Talk development team, so I firmly believe they intend to get it right in every sense of the word.

Concluding, a lot of work still remains to be done. By the Google Talk team, but by us, the Jabber community, as well.

Jabber Rocks!