Microsoft announced on Monday that it will directly integrate Google Talk into its Outlook.com webmail service – an unexpected maneuver on all accounts. The announcement came after Microsoft received user feedback specifically requesting the ability to chat with Google Talk contacts.
The company utilized Google Talk’s APIs in order to make this feature possible. However, Google Talk conversations done through Outlook.com will have to be text only for now. No support for photos or video will be available right off the bat, but it’s not something Microsoft is shying away from.
“If it turns out a lot of people want the voice and video with Google, that’s certainly something we’ll go talk to them about,” said Outlook.com’s senior director Dharmesh Mehta.
Outlook.com’s integration with Google Talk is seamless and fluid, requiring no extraneous actions by existing accounts. All you have to do is add your Google contacts, and you will immediately be able to chat with them in Outlook.com’s sidebar. Although it goes without saying, this means existing Google contacts will automatically be available for chat conversations. Users should see the new feature roll out this week.
Microsoft’s surprising move leads to at least two conclusions: 1) they are trying to make their services cross-platform and a bit more user-friendly, and 2) they are listening to their users. No other similar actions have been announced alongside this new feature, but it’s obvious that Microsoft is willing to make progress with their communication services.
Do you think this move is as surprising as we do? Will you chat with your Google Talk contacts using Outlook.com?