With all the current discussion about the threat that Instagram Threads has on the Fediverse and that article about how Google Embrace Extend Extinguished XMPP, I was left very confused, since that was the first time I’ve heard that Gchat supported XMPP or what XMPP actually is, and I’ve had my personal Gmail since beta (no, don’t ask for it), and before then, everybody was using AOL/MSN Messenger to talk with each other online. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a single person who started using Gchat as an XMPP client.

Instead of a plot where Google took over XMPP userbase via EEE, it just seem to me more like XMPP was a niche protocol that very few hardcore enthusiasts used, and then Google tried to add support for it in their product, but ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the development effort to support a feature that very few of their users actually used and abandoned it in typical Google fashion.

So, to prove my point, how many people have used XMPP here, and how many people here haven’t?

  • dudeami0
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    11 months ago

    Google tried to add support for it in their product

    Is like saying that google tried to add support for HTTP to their products. Google Talk was initially a XMPP chat server hosted at talk.google.com, source here.

    Anyone that used Google Talk (me included) used XMPP, if they knew it or not.

    Besides this, it’s only a story of how an eager corporation adopting a protocol and selling how they support that protocol, only to abandon it because corporate interests got in the way (as they always do). It doesn’t have to be malicious to be effective in fragmenting a community, because the immense power those corporations wield to steer users in a direction they want once they abandon the product exists.

    That being said, if Google Talk wasn’t popular why did they try to axe the product based on XMPP and replace it with something proprietary (aka Hangouts)? If chat wasn’t popular among their users, this wouldn’t of been needed. This could of been for internal reasons, it could of been to fragment the user base knowing they had the most users and would force convergence, we really can’t be sure. The only thing we can be sure of is we shouldn’t trust corporations to have the best interest of their users, they only have the best interest of their shareholders in the end.

    • @[email protected]
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      11 months ago

      This could of been for internal reasons, it could of been to fragment the user base knowing they had the most users and would force convergence, we really can’t be sure.

      Given the well documented history of Google making absolutely dogshit product decisions, I think it’s the former. In fact, I don’t even need to think. Google already explained their reasoning. They had several different communication products (including Talk) that couldn’t be integrated together. They wanted the services to work seamlessly to try and compete with Messenger.

      If chat wasn’t popular among their users, this wouldn’t of been needed.

      Sure, chat was probably popular. However, I bet that 99% of their chat users never cared about XMPP compatibility in the first place. When you’re a product manager at a billion dollar megacorp who’s aiming for a promotion and you have a choice between making 1% of your users sad and massively simplifying the complexity of your new project… you pick the 99%

      • dudeami0
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        711 months ago

        As for the article, I think this is generally PR and corporate speak. Whatever their reasons were, they apparently didn’t shut down the initial XMPP servers until 2022 so it was a reliable technology. There “simplification” was bringing users into their ecosystem to more easily monetize their behaviour. This goes along with your last paragraph, at the end of the day the corporation is a for-profit organization. We can’t trust a for-profit organization to have the best of intentions, some manager is aiming to meet a metric that gets them their bonus. Is this what we really want dictating the services we use day to day?

        • @[email protected]
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          11 months ago

          they apparently didn’t shut down the initial XMPP servers until 2022

          Sure. They probably had one client who paid them a pile of money every year to keep it live. If there was some plan to extinguish XMPP, surely they wouldn’t have kept it around for so long.

          We can’t trust a for-profit organization to have the best of intentions

          Sure. The solution is simple: don’t use corporate platforms. The way to prevent what happened was not for XMPP to block Google. It was for people to not switch to Google in the first place. Google Talk released in 2005. This was absolutely back when everyone still believed “Don’t be evil”.

    • Margot RobbieOP
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      611 months ago

      Hmm. Did not know that. Thanks!

      But my counterpoint to the axing bit is that Google did not need any reason to do anything dumb with their Chat products, otherwise Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger would not have been as popular as they are now.

      • Margot RobbieOP
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        611 months ago

        Also, in my defense, that article was just wrong about XMPP’s history then, as it stated that:

        In 2006, Google talk became XMPP compatible. Google was seriously considering XMPP.

        Which is why I thought it was a feature they later added.