Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Gtalk chatback is scary and painful



Someone clicked on the Gtalk Chatback badge on the right side of this page the other day and as expected it opened the GTalk desktop chat window on my machine asking me to click on a scary looking URL. The URL was so long that it looked very malicious to me and I didn’t want to click on it. Also it didn’t give me any info that who was trying to chat with me. An invite one liner would have helped.

After scrutinizing the URL for a couple of minutes I gained some courage and clicked on it to open a web page which told me that I need to join a conversation and for that I need to click on the join button below. I did that too. Then it opened the GTalk gadget on another browser window with a new guest conversation along with another version of the already open GTalk desktop chat windows. Confused? Even I was. I had really liked the idea of a chat program having a web badge but there are serious flaws in the implementation and hence the experience sucks.

I don’t know if this is the drawback of the new age web services exposing their APIs for the community to build on them. Here the height of stupidity is that the same organization which built the original application is using its API to create two more separate versions which have different feature sets. Good that I hadn’t logged into the Gmail version. Otherwise my desktop would have got flooded with chat window replicas.

I’m OK with the idea of having multiple version of Google Talk which allows me to use it in different circumstances. But they should have taken care of the scenario when multiple instances of Gtalk are online at the same time. Eg. If I’m online on the desktop version and the web version at the same time, the desktop version should take precedence over the web version. Ie; If I start the chat on the web version by clicking on a contact the desktop chat window should be opened. Only in the absence of the desktop version should a web chat window be initialized. So in the gadget’s case the invitation and the guest chat would have happened in the same chat window.

It’s a great idea lost in translation
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