Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hush Hush

I do like Google's IM venture, Google Talk, for a number of reasons: it's built on open standards platforms (Jabber), it allows clever integration with Gmail, and it allows VOIP in a straightfoward, no nonsense fashion that Yahoo, MSN, and AOL seem to eschew. However, I don't use the Google Talk client; instead, I use Trillian, a multi-IM application, allowing me to be on AOL, MSN, Yahoo, and Google Talk all at once (disclosure: I am actually beta testing Trillian Astra, the next version.)

Today, I noticed in a chat with my buddy Tim a new line that appeared in our chat log:
Intriguing! I investigated further, and found this link, and it's explanation:
"What does it mean to go off the record?

We know that sometimes, we don't want a particular chat, or chats with a specific person, to be saved. Most existing IM services give no indication of whether the person you're chatting with is saving your conversation. But when chatting in Google Talk or Gmail, you can go "off the record," so that nothing typed from that point forward gets automatically saved in anyone's Gmail account.

Going off the record applies to individual people, and is persistent across chats. That means once you go off the record with a particular person, you will always be off the record with him or her, even if you close the chat window, and the two of you don't chat again until several months later. You will not need to go off the record each time you chat with the same person, but you will need to make this decision for each person you chat with. We've designed this to be a socially-negotiated setting because we want to give users full disclosure and control over whether the person they're talking to can save their chat."
This is fascinating. I archive all of my IM chats, allowing for easy searches within Trillian for recall later; this becomes extremely important with conversations with employees, clients, and partners. But to be able to integrate this into Google search results? Wow, who needs Google Desktop?

Smart. Very smart.

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