Google Talk has been inducted into a high-profile list of programs decommissioned by Google. For those with no desire to make the move to Google Hangouts, there are four alternatives that may fit the bill for those desktop communications needs.
Just ten days after Google officially released news of Google Talk's demise, the text and talk app met its end after a nine year run.
There is a good deal of former Google Talk users who has had their reasons for staying away from Hangouts, but not all of them were due to the latter's lack of support for other messaging networks.
This short list of alternatives is split into two categories: those that are still compatible with Google Talk and those that offer a complete migration from the service:
Compatible with all major messaging protocols, Pidgin ranks high on the list of programs capable helping Google Talk users stay connected with one another. Pidgin is also cross platform. It supports Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
With Pidgin, users can log into almost all of their messaging accounts at once and communicate seamlessly with others on networks like Yahoo or Jabber. Pidgin also has an extensive list of plug-in to enhance its core products, allowing users to chat with others on Facebook IM or OKCupid to name a few.
This fully open source program automatically encrypts communications and users can begin using the program without signing up for an account. Jitsi is cross platform and it supports a host of messaging networks.
Jitsi supports audio calls, video calls, conference calls, call recording, desktop streaming, call transfer, one-on-one chats, group chats, file transfer and more.
As is the other entry in this section, Skype uses a proprietary messaging protocol. But with roughly 300 million users, there's a good chance new Skypers will already have friends and family members that use the service. That growing user base is important because Skype-to-Skype calls area completely free, while Skype calling outsiders will come at a fee.
With the might of Microsoft behind it, Skype is in a great position to continue to grow its user base and features like Skype Translator will likely help a great deal.
It doesn't support as many desktop platforms as Jitsi or Pidgin, but Line is available on both Windows and Mac OS X. And like the Skype, Line's source code is locked away and it doesn't share compatibility with other messaging networks.
Line users can call and chat with friends and family for free, thought a premium account will be necessary for communications that cross borders.