Google watchers abuzz about the search darling's new desktop tool are already betting on its next product: instant chat.
Such speculation isn't new, but it's gained legs as some intriguing facts have come to light this week. First, although few people seem to realize it, Google already owns an instant-messaging (IM) client called Hello that it picked up this summer with its acquisition of photo-sharing service Picasa. Meanwhile, code uncovered in the Google Desktop Search tool released Tuesday suggests that the company may have broader plans to integrate IM into its growing list of products.
Richard Smith, a well-known security consultant, said he examined the code in the desktop application and found included in the program files a new protocol: "google_im://". (A protocol allows desktop software to interact with the Web browser.) "This is a good sign there's an IM client," he said. A Google representative said the protocol flagged by Smith does not hint at a pending Google IM product; rather, it is merely a component used to capture IM data from America Online Instant Messenger and make it searchable on the desktop.
News source: C|Net News.com