Google Hangouts and XMPP

Hands on with Hangouts, Google’s new text and video chat architecture | Ars Technica

The announcement of the improved Google Hangouts the other day worried many of us who use Google Talk (through third-party clients like Adium). Were they completely killing Jabber/XMPP? I tested some this morning, and found that I can chat between Hangouts and Adium. Then I found this article, which explains in a little more detail what’s going on:

There’s some bad news that comes with the new Hangout architecture, at least for others who want to have interoperability with Google chat users on the server side via XMPP. Google will not allow server-to-server connections. Chee Chew said that “we haven’t seen significant uptake” in federation with Google Talk via server-to-server connections. The majority of the uptake Google did see was from organizations or individuals looking to bombard Google Talk users with chat spam, Chew said. As a result, server-to-server XMPP has been left out of the consolidated Hangout environment.

That means that users of Jabber, OpenFire, and other open-source XMPP-based instant messaging servers won’t be able to tie into Hangouts through their own systems and will have to have separate Google credentials to chat with Google users. But it doesn’t mean that Google has euthanized XMPP completely, as some have reported.

The good news is that Hangouts will still support client-to-server connections via XMPP, though only for one-to-one text chat. That means that Web and client-side chat applications that have used XMPP to connect to Google Talk will still be able to see presence information about their contacts in Google+ and chat with them via text in Hangouts.

So the grand, federated world where all kinds of chat services interoperated is dead. At least, it’s not happening through google. Which I think we knew anyway — I think they killed at least some degree of XMPP federation some time ago. And I’m not sure anyone ever really tried to make it work anyway.

Shame, though, that these companies can’t just try to get along. Remember when Apple promised that FaceTime would be an open, interporable standard?

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