Google will split their portion of the global chat network off from everyone else on the 16th of February.
This balkanising move means that you won’t be able to use a Google-based chat account to contact people using non-Google chat account addresses anymore.
If you’re still using a Google-based account for chat, I recommend getting a chat account with a provider committed to open interoperability.
How to get a global, non-Google chat account
You can use almost any chat client to connect; some web-based ones do exist but it’s probably simpler and less bother to download a chat client to run on your computer or cellphone directly.
- For mac: Adium is excellent! https://adium.im/
- For linux: pidgin, https://www.pidgin.im/
- For Android: chatsecure, https://chatsecure.org/
- For iPhone: also chatsecure, https://chatsecure.org/
- For windows: also pidgin, https://www.pidgin.im/
It’s also easy to connect using your own DNS domain
For those of you who have DNS domains of your own, and would like a email@example.com chat address, I heartily recommend http://hosted.im/. All you do is add a couple of DNS records, register at the site, and you have your own personal chat domain. You can create accounts for yourself and your friends there, and have full interoperability and federation with the global chat network.
Resist Balkanisation; support independent providers
The XMPP global chat network is the only open, federated chat network still standing. As such, it deserves our support against the hostile moves of large companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft. Supporting smaller chat account providers and/or running our own servers is a great way to help keep the internet commons healthy.