Google talk no longer works – use Pidgin!
Many Windows users had Google talk. It was a small app that did the work, it was simple and yet it was everything most of us needed. However, Google has decided to cancel it in favor of Hangouts. They did not have to make Google talk unusable, but it is the way the big companies push things.
The hangouts alternative might not be too great, as it is chrome based. So what is left for us that want just simple, independent app that would do what Gtalk did before? Fortunately the old data protocol is not dead yet, so we can use 3rd party apps. The answer is Pidgin.
Pidgin is not unknown for Linux users, however not many Windows users have heard for it up until now.
You can download it from here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/pidgin/
After installation, all you need is to chose “Google talk” and enter your data. It will connect right away, and you can start chatting.
However there are some annoyances. First, it makes sound each time status of any of your friends changes. If they become idle, you will hear it, if they go offline, you will hear it, if you send a message, well, you get a point… Go to Tools/Preferences/Sound, and chose to either mute all sounds or check for which event you want to hear notification.
The second hidden feature is autostart, as it will not start automatically when Windows starts. Go to Tools/Plugins, scroll down to the bottom to “Windows Plugin Options”. Check it, and click on the button “Configure Plugin”. You will see there “Start Pidgin when Windows starts”.
To choose if you want to see offline friends or idle friends, you need to go to Buddies/Show.
For sorting how you will see your friends list go to Buddies/Sort Buddies.
The app itself is very customizable, much more than Google talk was. It is well worth using it.
Update for 2019, the best app is Telegram!
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/telegram sudo apt update && sudo apt install telegram