Google Talk is now connected to the public XMPP network. The announcement was made this morning in the Google Talk Blog. This means that Google Talk users can communicate with anyone on a public Jabber server using "the dialback protocol as described in RFC 3920."
This is an important step in standardizing Instant Messaging in the same way that e-mail has been standardized for years. Imagine if you could only send e-mail to other Gmail users. Or, if you used Hotmail and you could only send e-mail to other Hotmail users. In a few years, I hope we will look back at the now-current state of Instant Messaging and wonder why it took so long to connect all of the Instant Messaging networks together.
By basing Google Talk on the open XMPP standard Google will help make universal Instant Messaging federation a reality. The connection of Google Talk to the public XMPP network today brings us one step closer to this goal. Google has announced plans to connect Google Talk to AIM. It will be interesting to see if AIM also adopts the XMPP standard.
Yahoo! and MSN are connecting their Instant Messaging networks together. It will be tough to convince Yahoo! and Microsoft that opening up their Instant Messaging networks will be in their best interests. Right now they have a very large combined user base. However, every new person that signs up on Google Talk or another service on the XMPP network gives Yahoo! and MSN one more reason to open up their network. They cannot continue to survive as a closed-off network while an open network flourishes around them.