Play Games Right in Google Talk
Article by George Norman
On 29 May 2009
Google Talk, the free web-based application developed by Google as an instant messaging VoIP (voice over IP) client, has added one new feature to its functionality list. As you already know, Google Talk lets you see real-time availability and status of your friends, communicate with them with instant text messages or voice calls, share files, and that’s pretty much it – until now. The Mountain View search engine giant has enhanced its IM client by releasing a realtime gadgets API (application programming interface) that lets you play games in Google Talk.

“gadgets.realtime and the APIs built on top of it allow gadget developers to write applications that communicate asynchronously with another endpoint, whether that endpoint is another instance of the application (on another machine, or in another browser, for example), the container hosting the gadget, or an application hosted in the cloud. The obvious application of these APIs is 1:1 gaming -- at its most basic a Tic-Tac-Toe game between two users. However there are many other more complex (and arguably -- depending on your thoughts about games -- more interesting) scenarios that these APIs enable; for instance, a chat application that translates text as participants type it, or a shared whiteboard, or an application that lets a couple choose the best flight for their upcoming vacation,” says the official presentation of Realtime Gadgets API.


The one responsible for letting us play games in Google Talk is Software Engineer, Moishe Lettvin. According to him, he started writing games at an early age, but it has always been his dreamt to write a game that could be played on separate computers. He thus started pursuing his dream in the 20% time at Google (the one day per week when Google lets software engineers work on their innovative ideas) but his goal of building a simple JavaScript on top of Google Talk soon took pretty much all of his time.

“After some demos, my 20% project grew to an 80% project, and we're now ready to show off -- and get feedback on -- the gadgets.realtime set of APIs. These APIs will let Google gadgets hosted in different user's browsers communicate with each other. The first API, gadgets.sharedstate, is available on the new Talk Developer Sandbox. With this API, you can share an object between instances of a gadget, and be notified in realtime when the other instance modifies it. More APIs and UI improvements to allow gadgets.realtime gadgets to be used on orkut and iGoogle are in the works and coming soon,” commented Moishe Lettvin.

Tags: Google, Google Talk, Realtime Gadget API, Games
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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