Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Google Talk

I regularly praise Google products on this blog, but that doesn’t mean that they’re perfect. I’ve been trying for a few days now to get Google Talk working, but it just… won’t. (I have a friend who has got a new job where he can’t use MSN Messenger anymore, but can use Google Talk. I thought I’d give it a shot, so we could keep in touch. Well, other than email, I mean.)

My problem is that I already have a Google account, but not a Gmail account. I use my regular email account as a sign-in name, and use that for the Google services I use (Blogger and Google Docs, mostly). So can you use Google Talk if you don’t have a Gmail account? Google says yes; according to this page:

If you’d like to sign up for Google Talk for an existing Google Account:

  1. Sign in with your Google Account email address and password at https://www.google.com/accounts/Login?service=talk.
  2. Enter your desired Talk username and click check availability! If your chosen name isn’t available, you can select from the suggested alternatives, or enter another username and try again.
  3. Optionally, enter your first and/or last name in the appropriate fields. If you enter a name, it will show up on your friends’ Talk contact lists instead of your username.
  4. Click Continue.
Sounds good—except that it doesn’t work. When I click the link, I don’t get prompted to enter a username, and I don’t get an option to enter a first name or last name. I just get… well, not much of anything, really. I get a page called “My Account” where I can’t really do anything.

So if I’m going to keep in touch with my friend, I guess he’ll have to try and configure MSN Messenger to work through his proxy. (Eric, have you tried using Pidgin? It can connect to MSN Messenger—even through HTTP—and Google Talk, and probably any other chat services you use.)

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