Thursday, November 29, 2007

Official Google talk group chat, PartyChat, and You

As many of you have undoubtedly discovered, Google supports group chat functionality for Google Talk and today added this support to GMail Chat. I've been asked what this means with respect to PartyChat, so I figured I'd write down answers for you, the larger audience.

  • Officiality: Google's group chat offers official group chat behavior for Google talk users. PartyChat is not a product of Google (it's a personal pet project) and has no official support other than what I have time to personally give.

  • Who can use it: The announced group chat only works for Google Talk users (i.e. @gmail accounts or users of Google Apps). PartyChat works with with all Jabber accounts. If you don't know what Jabber is, don't worry. If you do... well, then there you go.

  • Persistence: Google's group chat functionality is designed for one-off conversations. You're talking with X and realize you want to add Y into the conversation. Or maybe you have some specific short-term goal in mind (organizing dinner, say) and have no use for a multi-user chat channel for future use. Once you close the window for a group chat, you've exited that chat forever. PartyChat is designed to be a persistent group chat channel. You stay in the group chat even if you log out. You don't have to re-invite people each time you want to have a discussion.
    For temporary chats, Google talk group chat is the easiest to use. If you have a long term goal in mind, or maybe just want a lasting social forum, then PartyChat will probably satisfy your needs better.

  • Accessibility: Because Google's group chat feature is specific to Google Talk, you must use the Google gadget/client to participate. If you use other chat clients (e.g. iChat, Pidgin, Meebo, a Blackberry, etc.) for Google Talk then you can't enter these group chats. Because PartyChat sits within the network, you use PartyChat from any device that sends/receives messages on the Google Talk/Jabber network.
I'm happy that Google now has wide-spread support for group chat, but I still think there's a need for the special features that PartyChat provides. My friends and I will continue working and supporting PartyChat, so enjoy using both!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

PartyChat on Facebook

PartyChat now has its own fan page on Facebook. Show your Facebook friends you're a PartyChat fan and help spread the love!