Google Talk has been made available as a web application for the iPhone, which sounds great if you want an instant messenger client, but in reality doesn’t work particularly well because of the iPhone’s current limitations.
Because it runs in the Safari web browser rather than being a standalone application (they come next week), whenever the user switches to another application, such as Mail or Weather, Google Talk sets the user’s status to “Unavailable” and the session is reset the next time it’s accessed.
Not very useful for an IM client that you’d like to have open all the time, but purely a limitation of how the iPhone’s operating system allows applications to run. Even when iPhone 2.0 software comes out, it won’t allow background tasks to run. However, it will use new “push” technology to alert the user when an inactive application needs attention. Hopefully, if Google launches a native iPhone Google Talk application, it will use this system, though we really don’t know a huge amount about how the new service works, and whether it can only be used through the MobileMe service.
A really decent instant messaging client on a non-jailbroken iPhone would be really great. Let’s hope we see some that work well come 11th July.