20 September 2006

Google Talk and XMPP

I've been using Google Talk for a while. I like it, it has a simple clean interface and seems lightweight enough to do everything I'd like it to do (though I haven't got into trying voice conversations over it yet or anything). They are using the Jabber/XMPP standard which I like since I've long believed that having a common standard (like email) is much easier than having friends on lots of different networks. They recently upgraded to a new version. It has a few new features that I haven't really tried yet but one I was using, that shows your currently playing track, was bugging a friend. The reason it was bugging him was that every time the track changed it showed him the new track in his chat window.

The only reason it was doing that was because Google were using the status message to update this information. Given there is a draft standard to show user tunes in XMPP then it seems a shame they aren't using this. Since their core market are probably Google Talk to Google Talk users both clients would probably understand this. Other clients that did understand this would display the information however they liked (hell if someone was using a client that was some sort of music library it could start playing the same track). Other clients that didn't understand it would merely ignore it with the result of the person's status remaining the same (available, busy or whatever) and without bombarding people with the track information. Seems a real shame they didn't take advantage of this, after all I'd expect most of the work was doing writing the scripting with the music players it supports; it wouldn't have been much work to write this into a different area than the status.

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