Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd May 2013 22:01 UTC
Google "In the midst of the major press blitz surrounding its annual I/O Conference, Google dropped some unfortunate news about its instant messaging plans. In several places around the web, the company is replacing the existing 'Talk' platform with a new one called 'Hangouts' that sharply diminishes support for the open messaging protocol known as XMPP (or sometimes informally Jabber), and also removes the option to disable the archiving of all chat communications. These changes represent a switch from open protocols to proprietary ones, and a clear step backward for many users." That's why I always say: only suckers trust companies.
Order by: Score:
....
by Hiev on Thu 23rd May 2013 22:37 UTC
Hiev
Member since:
2005-09-27

Looks like we got Scroogled!

Reply Score: 4

Google's logic
by Tony Swash on Thu 23rd May 2013 22:44 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

The key reason driving this move by Google is to shift users to a messaging system which only works if you are logged into Google+. Since the birth of the post Schmidt 'Google2' under the leadership of Larry Page all of Google's operations are being ever more tightly focussed on key strategic aims. The core aim is to use very lever possible to cajole users of it's free services to sign into their Google+ plus accounts and to ensure that the real identity of Google+ users is known to Google. The reason Google wants that is because when someone is logged into Google+ they can then be tracked without the use of cookies and in a way that will not be blocked by the (probably inevitable) spread of 'do not track' mechanisms. Google must track users, in fact it's entire business model collapses without tracking, in order to gather the data that it then monetizes when it uses data about you to construct advertising products which are essentially the sole source of Google's revenues.

It's not a question of whether one trusts a company or not, all companies are capitalist enterprises that have to operate as successful capitalist enterprise or disappear, they have to sell things for a profit. The issue is always what is the business model of a given company, what does it sell, by what business process are it's products constructed (including non-physical products), to who does it sell those products, what threatens that core business, what does not. By calculating what the core business of a company is one can understand the likely logic and pattern of a company's behaviour over time, what is important to it and what is not. One can also, of course, decide whether one prefers one companies business model over another, and thus one companies behaviour, impact and behaviour over another but that is a subjective issue of personal preference.

Some interesting perspective on this site

http://stratechery.com

Edited 2013-05-23 22:49 UTC

Reply Score: 13

RE: Google's logic
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 23rd May 2013 23:43 UTC in reply to "Google's logic"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

A child like part of me wishes you were wrong, but the adult in me knows you aren't.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Google's logic
by Tony Swash on Fri 24th May 2013 00:09 UTC in reply to "Google's logic"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Here is another example of the logic I was talking about and the centrality of Google+ to Google's strategy. Google has just announced an integration between its main search service and Google+ Photos. The company now lets you find your photos both on Google+ and Google Search just by, well, searching for them. If you are signed into Google+

Google is going to continue to roll out compelling and attractive free, and ever more integrated services all of which will only work well or at all if you are signed in to Google+. These services will be for all platforms and, I think, Google will be increasingly platform agnostic showing few favours to Android.

On the new The Critical Path podcast Horace Dediu, who runs the fabulously analytical web site Asymco, has some interesting things to say about what, if anything, could disrupt Google's business (it's in the second half of the podcast). It's here

http://5by5.tv/criticalpath/85

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Google's logic
by JAlexoid on Fri 24th May 2013 17:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Google's logic"
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

Only work? I'm sorry, but they just added a feature. The photo search will still function as it always had.
If you don't use Google+(even if signed in) these features have 0 impact for you.

Yes - they will have more integrated services. The thing that Google users have been crying for years. Too bad that they aren't being open about interaction with their systems, though.

Edited 2013-05-24 17:26 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Google's logic
by Neolander on Fri 24th May 2013 06:32 UTC in reply to "Google's logic"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Somehow, looking at the "About" page of this site, unconventionally referred to as "Written by Ben Thompson", makes me guess why you like to link to it these days...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Google's logic
by Tony Swash on Fri 24th May 2013 10:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Google's logic"
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Somehow, looking at the "About" page of this site, unconventionally referred to as "Written by Ben Thompson", makes me guess why you like to link to it these days...


Good to see an open mind engaging with the ideas ;)

The Asymco site is rated as one the top sources of data driven analysis on the mobile device markets and the ex-Nokia executive Horace Dediu who runs it is a highly respected commentator on the mobile scene.

What is so good about Asymco is it's commitment to data and data analysis, a refreshing change from the tidal wave of speculative click-bait puff pieces that passes for a lot of tech journalism these days. The latest article on the questions that should be asked of Tim Cook in his interview at AllThingsDā€™s D11 conference next week is worth a read.

Here are a couple of recent article that exemplify the sort of data analysis that makes Horace Dediu so interesting.

Surface Tension: The effect of Surface on Windows revenues

http://www.asymco.com/2013/05/01/surface-tension-the-effect-of-surf...


The job the iPhone is hired to do (about what the role of iPhone in the business of carriers)

http://www.asymco.com/2013/04/23/the-job-the-iphone-is-hired-to-do-...

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Google's logic
by Neolander on Fri 24th May 2013 14:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Google's logic"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I totally agree, I also find Asymco's analyses nice precisely because of that focus on data which they exhibit.

Due to that data-centric focus, when I agree or disagree with their conclusions, I can objectively state why. Doing this is much more difficult, by nature, with opinion pieces. Which probably explains why, in my experience, the latter seem more likely to cause flamewars.

My original reply to your parent post was longer, discussing your analysis of Google's behaviour, but in the end I trimmed it down to a snarky remark about stratechery precisely because of this reason: we would only have ended up in a speculative fiction fight, as usual, so starting that discussion seemed futile to me.

Edited 2013-05-24 14:33 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Thu 23rd May 2013 23:02 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

A really crooked move driven by some selfish interests.

Google could do things differently in a number of ways:

1. Extend XMPP and Jingle to cover their needs for Hangout which can't be satisfied with current XMPP capabilities (and naturally publish these extensions).

2. If for some reason they can't do #1 - develop another protocol, and publish it. Only then start rolling it out, but without cutting existing users off their contacts outside Google.

Google didn't explain why they can't do #1. They didn't do #2 as well, instead creating some closed protocol and threatening to cut current users of XMPP off. Do they still claim not to be evil?

Edited 2013-05-23 23:03 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE: Comment by shmerl
by snowbender on Fri 24th May 2013 23:58 UTC in reply to "Comment by shmerl"
snowbender Member since:
2006-05-04

1. Extend XMPP and Jingle to cover their needs for Hangout which can't be satisfied with current XMPP capabilities (and naturally publish these extensions).


This would be really nice.

2. If for some reason they can't do #1 - develop another protocol, and publish it. Only then start rolling it out, but without cutting existing users off their contacts outside Google.


Even though it is better than not publishing the protocol, this is really a lot less valuable than option 1. This is only useful for third party chat clients.

All protocols like this developed by companies are not designed to work across servers, in the way that a protocol like XMPP (or SMTP) is designed. XMPP (and SMTP) allow users to connect from any server on the internet to any other server on the internet. Proprietary chat protocols don't allow you to do that as far as I know.

It would be very refreshing if a company would actually do that. If Google would do this, Yahoo might support the same protocol in their messenger application, and support communication between Yahoo messenger users and Google hangout users. But we all know that is not gonna happen.

Still I keep on dreaming about an open protocol for all kinds of decentralized social media services, that allows me to host my own server, and that is sufficiently popular to be actually useful. Let's say the equivalent of SMTP for all kinds of social media services.

Reply Score: 3

Another Proprietary Chat Client
by intangible on Thu 23rd May 2013 23:25 UTC
intangible
Member since:
2005-07-06

Hooray... Yet another proprietary chat client; that's what we all need and want.

Skype, AIM, MSN Messenger, Facebook Chat, ICQ, Hipchat, iChat, Facetime, etc...

Gtalk was the one spark of common sense (even though they completely borked the XMPP "priority" specification), but alas, it was not to be.

Reply Score: 9

BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Facebook chat is just XMPP, I use it with pidgin, same with iChat(I think)

Reply Score: 3

darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Facebook chat is just XMPP, I use it with pidgin, same with iChat(I think)

Well, iChat did support XMPP, but that would be expected as iChat was Apple's built-in IM client on OS X up until the release of Messages in 10.8 (which still supports xmpp accounts). I think you mean iMessage and, while there's a common misconception that iMessage uses xmpp, from all I have been able to gather it does not. It is based on the APNS protocol (the same push notification protocol that is used on Apple products) rather than XMPP, and APNS is proprietary both in the protocol and the certificates needed to communicate with Apple's servers.

Reply Score: 3

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Though Facebook XMPP is not federated - something that quite a few see as a characteristic of a "proper" XMPP server.

Reply Score: 2

Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Hooray... Yet another proprietary chat client; that's what we all need and want.

Skype, AIM, MSN Messenger, Facebook Chat, ICQ, Hipchat, iChat, Facetime, etc...


That's fewer protocols than you'd think: Facebook Chat is XMPP like GTalk. AIM, iChat and ICQ are all Oscar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSCAR_protocol).

Reply Score: 3

it's wafer-thin sire...
by tylerdurden on Thu 23rd May 2013 23:32 UTC
tylerdurden
Member since:
2009-03-17

with their insatiable appetite for personal data and info, each passing day google resembles more and more Mr. Creosote from Monty Python's "Meaning of Life"

Reply Score: 2

Yeah... what a shame.
by UltraZelda64 on Fri 24th May 2013 00:09 UTC
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

In my last attempt to abandon Yahoo! Messenger a few years ago, my plan was to switch to Google Talk as my primary instant messenger and use my new Outlook.com account (at the time the service just hit preview, and the MSN Messenger supported communicating with people on the Yahoo! network I was desperately trying to avoid). This all goes without mentioning the fact that I ditched AIM many, many years ago, and that AOL's service is firmly out of the question. (Would anyone seriously suggest that these days?)

Fast forward almost no time at all. First goes MSN Messenger, killed off by Microsoft throughout the world except for China, and now Google Talk as the company tries to pimp up their social networking crap. As a Pidgin user for several years, that leaves me screwed; now it's either the Skype client or whatever crapp Google puts out, or the Outlook.com or Gmail/Google+ sites from now on. Fuck that!

So... this got me on the move yet again to search for an alternative. Since Pidgin is now going to be mostly useless to me as a multi-protocol client, and after doing some reading, it seems Jabber/XMPP is the way to go. The traditional, no-bullshit, real deal servers. But the problem there is... which one to use? There are so many, all around the world... which ones are most reliable and fastest? I also reconsidered my "need" to even bother with Pidgin, and found it to still be a good choice, but I might consider Psi for a possible more full-featured XMPP-specific client since I don't really need the rest. Oh, and Xabber for Android seems awesome as well.

Anyway, on XMPP servers, I created a Jabber.org account and I can say that I've been less than impressed with its reliability in the last day or two I've been testing it, and it's one of the few listed at http://xmpp.net/ based in my country (for snappiness) that seems to exist. Also, based on it being "the original" Jabber server, I figured it would be more reliable in terms of not being as likely to disappear two years from now or having connection/disconnection problems. Many of the other U.S.-based servers also seem to be non-existent as well, with 404 errors. So much for attempting to find a fast server based on geography...

So... does anyone know of a good, fast, reliable XMPP server?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Yeah... what a shame.
by dgarcia42 on Fri 24th May 2013 00:30 UTC in reply to "Yeah... what a shame."
dgarcia42 Member since:
2008-04-11

Not sure that it would matter if you could find one - google is also ditching XMPP federation - which makes it much more of a pain in the ass to communication with google talk^Whangout users from other jabber networks. Yaaaaaay!

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Yeah... what a shame.
by UltraZelda64 on Fri 24th May 2013 01:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Yeah... what a shame."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Yes, my entire plan is to go all-out pure XMPP and ditch Google Talk/Hangouts/whatever. I will be telling my friends about the most promising alternative I can find and recommend that they create an account. Hell, I'll even offer to install a client and set it up for them, because I am no longer going to be using Google Talk once this trashing of the service takes effect. By the time I am no longer able to connect to Google Talk using Pidgin, I intend to already have some sort of alternative set up and in use.

I have just set up new accounts at two other Jabber/XMPP servers for testing--Jabbim (Czech Republic) and jabber.hot-chilli.net (Germany). Not sure if one of them will win out or if I'll keep looking, but at least they will be able to "talk" to each other. Unlike this Google "Hangouts" garbage being foisted upon us, which wants to contain all of its users in one closed proprietary box to promote their social networking crap. Just like all the proprietary crap of the past.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Yeah... what a shame.
by darknexus on Fri 24th May 2013 11:48 UTC in reply to "RE: Yeah... what a shame."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Not sure that it would matter if you could find one - google is also ditching XMPP federation - which makes it much more of a pain in the ass to communication with google talk^Whangout users from other jabber networks. Yaaaaaay!

While I can see why this might be upsetting, I for one am pleased they're ditching federation. Maybe now it will actually be useable without all the damn spam bots on other jabber servers sending messags to random Google addresses. Seems like they find me fairly often, and I've had more than enough of it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Yeah... what a shame.
by UltraZelda64 on Fri 24th May 2013 17:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Yeah... what a shame."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Could this be a problem with the client? I only received a couple spam messages to my Google Talk account in the entire time I've had my Google account (and at the beginning, I don't think Google Talk even existed yet). Every single one of them had a couple things in common:

1. They *all* occurred within the same day or two, without fail.
2. At the time, I was testing GNOME 3 and logged into all of them natively with the desktop environment itself (in other words, probably Epiphany).
3. Since I logged out of my accounts with GNOME 3, I have not received another single unsolicited message through any of my instant messaging accounts.

That all happened quite a long time ago. I have long since switched back to Pidgin, but for the last few days I have also been signed in with Psi and Xabber for testing and there's no spam as usual. I don't know why or how it happened, but I swear my spam began and ended with GNOME 3/Epiphany.

The way I see this, ditching federation is just an unjustified act, only meant to turn GTalk into yet another mega, proprietary sandbox IM service. But to be honest, I'm not as heavily concerned about federation as I am about the eventual closing of the protocol making it incompatible with third-party XMPP clients. That's what's really pushing me away from the service.

Edited 2013-05-24 17:36 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Yeah... what a shame.
by UltraZelda64 on Fri 24th May 2013 18:22 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Yeah... what a shame."
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Continuing my quest for a good XMPP service...

There seems to be some problem affecting XMPP services that run the Openfire server. Specifically (of the ones I've tested so far), jabber.iitsp.com (U.S.) and jabber.rootbash.com (Germany). They run great, very snappy with both Pidgin and Xabber, but Psi (0.15, openSUSE 12.2) seems to refuse to log in at all to these two servers:

There was an error communicating with the server.
Details: TLS handshake error"


On the other hand, I have also created a few more accounts on other servers as well, but I think I've got a good enough test pool right now. They all seem to have much better reliability compared to jabber.org (which disconnects and reconnects almost constantly throughout the night) and are much faster (connection speed, status updates, etc. can be slow on jabber.org).

It looks like what I'll be settling on is anything *but* jabber.org, I guess now it just comes down to features. And if I really want to use Psi, for now those two are excluded. It's odd... for being the "original" and the oldest XMPP service around, jabber.org sure does suck. Could that be a result of its proprietary Isode M-Link XMPP server, which I have yet to find another service based on?

Reply Score: 2

It's bad news
by Valhalla on Fri 24th May 2013 01:28 UTC
Valhalla
Member since:
2006-01-24

But not exactly 'out of the blue' given the complaints by Larry Page of how Microsoft took advantage of their interoperability to allow Skype to contact GTalk but didn't allow the same in return (yes, good old hypocrite Microsoft which just recently cried about Google not giving it access to the Youtube api).

So now Google is giving up on the open standard approach here and instead turns to a proprietary api offering, which is bad news for those of us who want open standards as Google was one of the few companies out there pushing them which actually had enough clout for them to be supported (like XMPP which is what is now being more or less abandoned).

Overall this just seems like a really bad move. And even if it ends up benefiting Google it certainly is a step back for open standards, which is what I care for.

Reply Score: 5

Like any corporation.
by moondevil on Fri 24th May 2013 06:29 UTC
moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

Geeks tend to put personalities on companies, label them into good and bad ones.

Truth is, they are profit oriented organizations.

That sometimes they are in sync with open source and open standards ideals is just a coincidence, when it happens to be good for their profits.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Like any corporation.
by majipoor on Fri 24th May 2013 09:44 UTC in reply to "Like any corporation."
majipoor Member since:
2009-01-22

Yes, but the problem with Google is that they pretend to be on the customer's side with everything open and free and whatever nice and cool. They even push this motto each time a Google executive is interviewed.

My problem with Google is not that it is a company looking for money and profit, it is their hypocrisy.

Reply Score: 2

Google Talk v1.0.0.104
by Brunis on Fri 24th May 2013 08:18 UTC
Brunis
Member since:
2005-11-01

This client hasn't been updated since 2006, it never supported groupchat or many other features that were in the online gmail version. Can't say i'm surprised they abandoned the protocol 7 years after their client.

Reply Score: 5

Comment by timdp
by timdp on Fri 24th May 2013 09:49 UTC
timdp
Member since:
2009-06-19

I won't deny that this is a bad thing, but are there any figures on how many people were actually chatting via XMPP? If they want to push Hangouts, good on them, and if the demand for XMPP is only marginal, I don't see any reason to keep maintaining it other than to advocate open standards barely anyone actually cares about. But that's a big if, of course. Although if it's anything like Facebook Chat, I'm pretty sure most people just use it directly from Gmail.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by timdp
by tkeith on Fri 24th May 2013 12:32 UTC in reply to "Comment by timdp"
tkeith Member since:
2010-09-01

That's just it. Who else is using XMPP? Facebook? Apple? Sadly the days of open standards are as bad as ever despite HTML5 doing well. Remember Google tried to introduce a new open communication standard, Wave. But for whatever reason others didn't pick it up and users seemed indifferent. Why go through the difficult work of making an open standard that others can use if they wont?

Anyone know if another major company that is using open standards? I'm pretty sure imessage, facebook messenger and skype are not. Yes, Google is usually the pushing for open standards but you can't expect them to do everything.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by timdp
by vaette on Fri 24th May 2013 13:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by timdp"
vaette Member since:
2008-08-09

Facebook indeed does XMPP: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/chat/

Various changes in authentication and some limitations in handling html messages, but it is there and working.

Reply Score: 3

No clear way forward
by sb56637 on Fri 24th May 2013 13:33 UTC
sb56637
Member since:
2006-05-11

Well, this certainly stinks.

Looks like for the moment at least, Google still offers their XMPP service for connecting with Pidgin/Empathy/Kopete/whatever. So as long as they keep offering that I guess I'll keep using it. In reality, I've never met anybody in real life aside from a few geeks who uses any other Jabber server. I don't think I could get my friends to all switch over to another Jabber server either, since most of them use the Gmail web interface for chatting anyway.

Edited 2013-05-24 13:45 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: No clear way forward
by UltraZelda64 on Fri 24th May 2013 18:02 UTC in reply to "No clear way forward"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

Most XMPP servers I've found only require the following to register an account:

1. Desired username
2. Desired password
3. CAPTCHA (a minor annoyance more than anything)

No personally-identifying information whatsoever, not even an e-mail address. Of the people I know, most of them don't think twice about setting up an account unless real, personal information is required--and even then, they probably won't care in the end. I'll probably offer to set up an XMPP account on some currently undetermined server for my friends, asking if they want a specific username or if they just want one that matches the beginning of their e-mail address.

As far as difficulty of weaning them off of Google's native web-based IM clients... well, one quick install of Pidgin should change all of that. Its always-on, always hiding in the background, always ready nature might be different than having to go to a web page and waiting for a complex JavaScript program to load just for a quick chat session, but once people try a *real* instant messaging client I seriously doubt they'll be dying to go back. Anyone even remotely familiar with AIM's "Buddy List" should feel right at home.

Edited 2013-05-24 18:04 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: No clear way forward
by zima on Fri 24th May 2013 19:39 UTC in reply to "RE: No clear way forward"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

OTOH I can imagine that plenty people dislike always-on nature of "a *real* instant messaging client" ...we have enough distractions already.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: No clear way forward
by UltraZelda64 on Fri 24th May 2013 20:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: No clear way forward"
UltraZelda64 Member since:
2006-12-05

True in some cases (I'd say more so on a phone than a desktop machine), but that's easily solved by just:

1. Going offline.
2. Closing the client.
3. Disabling the account.

It's not like you're stuck with an always-on instant messaging connection if you don't want it... you're simply given the option to use it that way without having a bloated web page running in a browser 24/7. And seriously, is that not just the kind of thing always-on Internet connections are for? If people didn't want it, they wouldn't be getting on Facebook religiously like they do.

You could also mute the sounds, so you don't get a distraction every time someone goes online or offline. Honestly, any conceivable problem is easily eliminated, and only really a major problem with huge, highly-active buddy lists. The major problems would probably be caused by poor configuration (pretty rare these days with a decent client).

I've honestly never had much of a problem and I've been IMing since the 90s. Well, OK, spam at one point (years ago...) was bad on the AIM and Yahoo! networks... but these days ALL unwanted messages can silently be sent to /dev/null by just setting Pidgin to block all incoming messages by users not on your buddy list.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: No clear way forward
by zima on Fri 24th May 2013 20:12 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: No clear way forward"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

True in some cases (I'd say more so on a phone than a desktop machine), but that's easily solved by just:

1. Going offline.
2. Closing the client.
3. Disabling the account.

...or by using IM via webpage, opening it when wanted ;) (note: I'm mostly just arguing for the sake of it, I do prefer and use native IM clients)

Reply Score: 2