By Mark O’Neill
I am a HUGE fan of Google Talk, so much so that I am trying to find more diverse ways of using it, apart from chatting to people and sending / receiving files. I never quite clicked (excuse the pun) with the Gmail version of Talk and so I am using the standalone app which also does a snappy job of informing me when email comes in.
But some forward-thinking companies have gone a step further and have started to offer Google Talk as a way of updating their online services. I have become quite a fan of doing this. This may be the lazy side of me talking to you but why go to the websites in question when you can just open up Google Talk on your desktop and send the website a chat message? Much quicker and much more convenient – if you don’t mind granting Google Talk access to your various accounts.
The added benefit to using Google Talk is that if you have chat logging enabled in Gmail then all of your updates sent through Google Talk gets logged and archived for future reference.
Here are the three websites that I use Google Talk for updates. If you know of any other websites that offer GTalk updating, please let me know in the comments as I am always keen to expand this little experiment!
I was a slow convert to the Twitter craze but gradually I could see its benefits as a micro-blogging tool (when I posted the link of one of my blog posts on Twitter, traffic to my blog shot through the roof). I also particularly like the fact that you can send and receive Twitter messages via your mobile phone (stops me going brain-dead at social functions although people get concerned when I am fiddling with something under the table). But one of the features I like the most is being able to update my Twitter profile using Google Talk.
All you have to do is add firstname.lastname@example.org as a GTalk contact. It will be approved by Twitter immediately (no need to chat up the bot and ask it for its phone number) but you will have to grant GTalk access to your Twitter account (this can be revoked by you at any time). Once everything is set up, just send your Twitter message to email@example.com and your Twitter profile will be updated instantly with your status messages.
There is no direct way to update your Facebook profile via Google Talk (which I hope will be changed very soon) but in the meantime, it can be done using Twitter as an intermediary.
All you have to do is install the Twitter Facebook application to your Facebook profile. Grant Facebook access to your Twitter profile and configure everything. Then when you use GTalk to update your Twitter profile (as detailed above), your Facebook status will be instantly updated too.
The only snag as you can see is that the words “is twittering” appears in the status message.
This is one I haven’t used so much yet since Remember the Milk is now integrated into Gmail and Google Calendar is also linked to from Gmail (I practically live inside the Gmail page). But it is still handy nevertheless.
Just add firstname.lastname@example.org to your GTalk list. Once it approves you (which should be instantly), send it any message and it will invite you to open up an IMified account. Once inside the account, you can then set up which services you want to use GTalk to ping to (there’s a list of services to choose from). Give it your log-in details for that service and your IMified menu on GTalk immediately refreshes with the new name.
One of the interesting things about IMified is that the only way to access your account is via GTalk. There’s no log-in page on the IMified website for anyone to hack into. To gain access to your account, just press “7” on the IMified menu in GTalk and the site generates a one-time encrypted link so you can access your account.
The three “big ones” in my opinion are Remember The Milk, Google Calendar and Pownce. You can also apparently use IMified to update your Del.icio.us account but I don’t know how I am supposed to tag each link using GTalk. So I will have to investigate that one some more. I have just discovered that you can also use IMified on GTalk to send new posts to your blog if you use LiveJournal, MovableType, TypePad, WordPress or Blogger.
So that’s about it. Oh one other thing – if you’re out on the road a lot, consider getting the Portable Pidgin app, add GTalk to your contact list and then you can update all these services while on the road. That’s next for me to test!