It would help if Google Talk was available all the time. Quite often in the last month I have been seeing “server error” messages in the gtalk box in gmail. Seems like Google may have overestimated their ability to deliver a compelling IM service, which is actually kind of staggering when you consider the 3 major IM platforms today are pretty mature. In addition to that, Yahoo and MSN both have new clients in beta that are take IM in entirely new direction with regard to media content, everything from videos to RSS feeds. But this really just highlights the one thing that Google is especially bad at, product management. Google engineers are very good at coming up with cool new products, they suck at broadening existing products to capture new opportunities or drive deeper in their core markets… Google’s own Monica Marissa Mayer said as much just today.
The user numbers coming out on Google Talk are staggeringly terrible. Comscore usage numbers show that nearly a year after launch Google is a distant, distant 4th after MSN, Yahoo and AIM. They hold a pitiful 1% of total instant messaging market share, with 3.4 million unique users in May 2006.
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