Google Talk does not work without GMail

Google, Tools

From the past few hours the Gmail service is down. This is the message displayed when I try to access my GMail.

Gmail Error

I tried to login to Google Talk (GT). To my surprise I was presented with a blank buddy list. No contacts were displayed in GT window but my status was shown as �Online�

Status Online

As far as I know Google Talk is dependent on Gmail for the following 3 reasons

  1. It logs into the mailbox and displays a list of new mails
  2. Contacts are retrieved from the GMail address book and are displayed in the Google Talk Window
  3. Save your chat histories

Now if Gmail service is down, definitely the above 3 feature are affected. But this should in no way affect the �Presence� and IM capabilities. My presence status was shown as online and I should definitely be able to see the Presence Status of other people in my Buddy list. And Google uses the standard XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) which in no way is dependent on the availability of user�s mailbox.

I did try to dig up in Google Talk FAQ to see if this is mentioned as a constraint

This is the answer for What does Google Talk do ?

When you download and use Google Talk, you’re actually connected to the group of users on the Google Talk network. Because Google Talk supports open standards, Google Talk users can also talk with users of other service providers that support open standards.

Even the query on What system requirements do I need to use Google Talk? doesn�t seem to suggest the availability of GMail Service as a requirement.

So I presume Google Talk/Jabber Client is bound pretty tightly to the GMail service. I am not sure how Yahoo or MSN behaves in this scenario, but definitely something to ponder over for Presence/IM implementation.

And as I am writing this post, the GMail service is up and so is Google Talk 🙂

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2 comments… add one

  • Vasuki Raghavan Jun 17, 2006

    Interesting!
    Yes, GMail and Google Talk are quite “strongly” dependent. Gmail acts more like a mail service with chat facilities and Google Talk acts like a chat service with access to your mail and contacts.
    And internally, they store your chat contents and your mails in an almost similar way I guess. So, basically you cannot chat as long as you cant check mails. But, the most intriguing thing is that it allowed you to login to Google Talk, which to me does not make sense!
    You cant chat with anyone because it would have failed to get contacts from Gmail. You cannot add a new friend also, I guess, because the invite would also internally go as a mail I guess and also it would fail to add this new friend to your Gmail contact list.
    Well, Google or otherwise, developers are developers! 😉

  • Venu Jun 17, 2006

    Yup the point is how was I able to successfully login and why was my status shown as “Available”. So whoever logs in is “Available” only to themselves and not their buddies.

    Anway in presence you have lot of such scenarios and google guys definitely didn’t consider the scenario of Gmail service being down. Also this was the first time I saw Gmail down 🙂

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