Google Talk On the Outside Looking In

The latest IM numbers are out and, as I mentioned the other day, the numbers for Google Talk are bad- in fact they are worse than I thought.

Almost a year after its release amid a buzzing blogosphere, Google Talk has captured a mere 1% of the IM market share. But for constant CPR at the hands of cousin Gmail, one of Google’s few successful non-search applications, Google Talk would have almost certainly faded into complete oblivion.

Mike Arrington asked the first question that popped into my head when he wondered where Skype IM falls on the list. According to Business Week, Google Talk is the 10th most (un)popular IM application, so there are at least 6 other applications ahead of it.

googletalkThe problem, as I pointed out almost a year ago, is that historically the IM clients don’t talk to each other, so people have to go where the numbers are- and they aren’t at Google Talk. As the walls come down and more of these clients are allowed to communicate with each other, features will matter more and Google Talk will be in last place for a different reason- because it likely won’t be invited to the party in time to make a difference.

The Microsoft/Yahoo deal to allow their IM clients to communicate with each other was designed to knock former leader AOL down a few more notches and to nip Google Talk’s growth in the bud.

For all these reasons, Google Talk is on the outside looking in.