For those unaware, for years GTalk supported using XMPP/Jabber to talk to other servers. A handle of email@example.com could speak through GTalk to someone using a different XMPP server with firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the introduction of Hangouts, this is no longer possible. In order to talk to GTalk users, you might be using a Google account.
Now before there's too much confusion: yes, Hangouts/GTalk users can still use XMPP clients, like Pidgin or Adium, to talk to other Hangouts/GTalk users. But such users can no longer talk to people using the global federated XMPP network of servers that are not Google.
For years I enjoyed being able to run my own XMPP server, do some interesting things with it, and still talk to my friends and family on GTalk. Now I'm forced to use Google to maintain this.
In other words, they took a well functioning standard that was successfully decentralized, federated, and working extremely well, and deliberately neutered the decentralized aspects. Now there is the nice decentralized XMPP, and Google's XMPP, separate, distinct, broken. It's a damn shame. Gtalk federation worked great for years, and it's only been with the G+era strangulation that it's disappeared.
As someone without Hangout or G+ people with a @gmail.com suffix might or might not be able to contact me, sometimes depending on the age of their mobile or whether they use GMail at this particular moment.
Their presence might or might not be accurate, because they are either away or use Hangout and stay 'away' forever (not offline, nooooo. They are away in G+ land..).
I hope you are right and I'm wrong.
Yes! Exactly this. I had started working on a Prosody server side plugin that would route messages for Hangouts users through a Google Account if they were on Hangouts instead of old-Gtalk, but the details of detection seemed flaky at best. When I have some time, I'll give it another look by examining the User-Agent the client sends. I'm not hopeful, but I guess there's a chance.
Using any client other than the crappy extension for Chrome, you can't do group text chats. Flamingo is an amazing XMPP client for Hangouts, but is useless for work because we use group chats for everything.
Drives me crazy, and Google refuse to release an actual API for Hangouts, so it's not being fixed anytime soon. I'm trying to convince work to move to IRC or HipChat, or anything other than Hangouts (but my boss loves Google everything, so that's a losing battle).
In old good days we didn't ask for protocols. We just took the specs by force, by reverse engineering. Worked well with ICQ, AIM, MSN Messenger and loads of others, except for, possibly, Skype (which was reverse engineered, but late to the party)
And "alternative" messengers survived and even prospered (seriously outplaying the dysfunctional, overweight and ad-ridden "official" ones), even if they were actively fought by network owners. Given that official Hangouts "desktop" app is is nearly completely unusable - and even more for those who don't use Chrome - and even web messenging support is lacking (you just can't put a button "Contact me on Hangouts" on your site), I'm a bit curious why no one cared about Hangouts enough to play that game once again.
Maybe because Hangouts was created as an unwelcome product eating a completely functional service people liked.
Nobody wants to invest in a service which just told you to fuck off.
Still, as I believe, quite a lot of people use Hangouts. Sure, there must be a hacker somewhere who's upset enough to mess with the software.
In the good old days we wrote standard protocols and submitted them as RFCs (eg RFC 1459)
The point is, they had an idea, hacked the software (without any standards, at that point, as I understand, this was the case with IRC which had RFCed only 10 years after the birth), then willingly shared the knowledge.
What's even worse is that Google's hangouts app is pretty much unusable. For some reason it doesn't list all of my contacts, won't show if anyone is available and gives no indication about who I could chat with.
The only obstetrical I have encountered so far, is that it requires at least 3 or 4 tries to add a Google user. But afterwards, it's not a problem.
Edit: One of my friends using dukgo.com also confirms this behaviour.
Because while in the past, my primary reason for installing Pidgin was connecting to Google's excellent XMPP service, I now only have it hooked up to my Facebook account. I don't see any value in Hangouts. That's right. As creepy and closed as Facebook is, I still find it a much higher value service than Hangouts. Plus it actually lets me connect to people I know reliably.
Hangouts is the perfect example of taking a good service and throwing it in the shitters. I can barely use the official Android-client. It's just gone completely downhill.
It may not be too late for Google to recover from the terrible slope they've taken on ever since the persisted, user-hostile G+ fiasco, but I can't imagine the tarnish their brand has taken to ever have been worth it.
So I basically can confirm that Google did not turn off XMPP federation for their XMPP service. It appears that there is simply no UI to add users from federated servers over hangouts, but it works with standard XMPP clients. So you could say that "Google dropped support for XMPP in their UIs". But you can still use your Google account as plain XMPP service (which doesn't mean that I would encourage it or think that it's a good idea).
But I can't rule out that e.g. some servers can't federate with Google, for example because of policy restrictions.
Disclaimer: I work for Google.
FWIW, they could “easily” build a mobile client that connects to Google via some nonstandard protocol which preserves energy on the phone while being mapped to the standard XMPP protocol from Google onwards.
Originally Android included an XMPP API that applications could use to connect to Google and other XMPP services. This got replaced by a Google Talk-specific API at the same time they switched to a proprietary protocol.
XEP-0198 is currently gaining adoption quite nicely for example, it allows for reliable streams (resume them without message loss or the need to re-sync everything if you get disconnected).
BUT this can be solved easily, when you control the server and the client. And this was already solved by google for years with gtalk. So this is not an excuse to stop federation.
Every Android device with the Google services installed actually has an XMPP connection open the whole time (albeit with some protocol changes); it's how push notifications work on Android.
Basically all of the issues, perceived flaws or missing features attributed to XMPP in the old implementation of Hangouts were either misinformed or have seen development or new specifications in the XSF. Google never contributed to such discussions, with the exception of individual Googlers helping with Domain Name Associations (DNA, http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-xmpp-dna-05).
Thanks for the pointer to here. Letter writing campaign to Kate Cushing worthwhile?
Ignoring hardware limitations (running hangout on a phone without a front facing camera maybe?) you already have the 'user runs a browser that needs a plugin to fullfil the request, but plugin is missing' case. Which is reported as a failure to both users (with a somewhat helpful message).
Using anything hangout-y over xmpp can fail for all I care. That's not the problem. The problem is that they broke the parts that _map well_. You cannot text me if you're using hangout (unless you're on gmail.com and use the 'gtalk' chat widget). I cannot see your presence.
There's a difference between 'not building a translation layer' (for oh-so-awesome new features) and deliberately breaking things that work since, like, forever.
I agree with the sibling: It's deliberate and just another Google 'Move to out platform and never get out' move.
(Other examples: »"Upgrade" your browser to Chrome.« »Install a "modern" browser to get automatic translation of websites.« - ignoring all the 'Join G+' nonsense)
You can talk between GTalk and a federated XMPP server if the the GTalk user is logged in via XMPP. So if I send a message from my work XMPP server to my google address, it shows up in Adium, but not in the hangouts client.
It's almost as if Google's XMPP network is separate from hangouts, and they only allow messages directly to/from the Google XMPP to propagate between them.