It has only been a couple of weeks since Microsoft brought Skype integration to the Outlook.com inbox and already, the Redmond company is back to bring Google’s Talk instant messaging service to its webmail service. It’s certainly an eyebrow raiser, no less since it looks as though the Big G looks all set to integrate GTalk and Hangouts into one unified – and rumored – "Babel" service, and it does also perhaps show a side to Microsoft we simply do not see often enough.
Microsoft is pretty closed-off, as we know, but this Google Talk integration suggests the fusty old software company is trying to offer a good Outlook.com service that people will actually want to use, as opposed to just keeping everything limited and hoping for a success story.
In fact, Microsoft has put quite a lot of energy into revamping Outlook.com, and with Skype and now GTalk available right off the bat, it’s actually a rather appealing prospect. The GTalk integration will begin rolling out later this week, and will naturally mean that when your Google Talk contacts are signed in, you can easily communicate with them in a fast and efficient manner.
Microsoft has been asking users of Outlook.com what exactly they would like to see changed and improved, and one of the common suggestions raised was the inability to chat to contacts via Google Talk, which spans almost every platform in some way, shape or form. Having taken into consideration the utterances of its user base, Microsoft has taken full advantage of Google’s APIs and integrated GTalk into Outlook.com.
At such a fledgling stage, the feature will only support text chat, and until there is the demand for video and audio, Microsoft appears in very little rush to support it. As per Outlook.com’s Dharmesh Mehta:
If it turns out a lot of people want the voice and video with Google, that’s certainly something we’ll go talk to them about
So there you go, Outlook.com users; you’ve got GTalk support, and if you want more, you had better go ahead and ask for it.
This is definitely a step in the right direction from Microsoft, and as a Gmail user myself, this is the kind of feature I could see potentially enticing me away from my comfort zone.
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