[AI] How to use Google talk.

Shiv shivraheja at gmail.com
Sun Jul 15 03:49:39 EDT 2007

Google Talk Review, by Aman Singer

Hi, all. I've just finished playing with the google talk beta, and thought
some people here who have Gmail accounts might be interested in trying it
First, the good points. The program is simple to the point of austerity.
There is no advertising whatever on the screen, and it's not cluttered at
The voice quality is very good, even to me, and I've been using Skype, the
quality of which is quite good, for quite a while. I was talking to someone
who was on a dial-up connection earlier today. We started on Skype and
switched to Google. The quality on Google was notably better for me, and he
the same. Google had no trouble negotiating my UPNP-enabled home router, and
the connection did not drop once in about 80 minutes of conversation.

Now, the bad points, and all have to do with accessibility. My thanks to
Amir Soleimani for his testing and help. Unfortunately, I was not able to
this with Window Eyes. First, if you're going to use the program, you're
going to have to use the Jaws cursor. There are, to the best of my
very few

keyboard shortcuts, and those aren't documented. If anyone has any links to

documentation for keyboard shortcuts, I'd love to hear of it. Having said
that, the Jaws cursor works quite well. The buttons are generally
At the top of the window, there is the title, "google talk". On some
systems, there are two graphics to the right of this on the same line. These
are minimize
and exit, in that order from the left. Of course, one can use windows+m in
the usual way. It and alt+f4 will send the program to the system tray, and
can be wholly killed from there through right-clicking on it if desired.
Under that title line, one finds three options. Inbox, settings, help.
in that order, and they're announced by Jaws. Clicking on them with the jaws
cursor will activate them. The inbox is the standard Gmail inbox. The
are in an accessible multi-page dialogue usable in the usual way (except for
the block contacts list which I don't seem to be able to use though, to be
fair, I haven't really tried much). The help is displayed in a standard web
browser window.

Under these three options is the user's own name and status. Under that is a
graphic and an edit box which can be used, though not very accessibly by me,
to search one's contacts. Under that search box is a list of the friends
that one has added to the messenger. A word on terminology. Contacts are all
addresses in your Gmail, and possibly in your Outlook and Windows, address
book. Friends are those you've explicitly added to Google Talk as people you
want to talk to or send instant messages to.

You will, at this point, have no friends in the list. Therefore, you will
get to the bottom of the window and hear "add a friend". Clicking this will
in an accessible dialogue box which you can tab through to add someone. You
can get the address from contacts or just enter it directly. Hit next and
get an accessible message about their being added or not. Note that only
Gmail users can talk to Gmail users, but Gmail accounts are free. Hit finish
your friend should be added.

Now, you should have a list of at least one person on the screen. Note that,
like most other messengers, the person must authorize you, so his/her status
will show as "invited" or some variant until he/she gets google talk or, if
it's already installed, until he/she authorizes you (through another
dialogue). Finding out if a friend is online is a headache. To do so, put
your cursor on the friend's name and stay there for a second or two. Down
once and you should hear your friend's email address. Down arrow once again
and you should hear the friend's status, whether available, offline, or
else. Note that, after you do this, you may find your jaws cursor stuck in
your friend's info. Simply route jaws to PC and hit page up or page down to
get loose and you can range the screen once again. If this method of
determining who's online is a pain, you can, from the settings box, check a
box to
"hide all offline friends". This is much simpler. Note that you can remove a
friend by right-clicking on the name and hitting "remove" from the resulting

To call a friend, click his/her name once with your mouse cursor. This will
open a box in which you can type an instant message. Instant messages can be
read in one of two ways. They can be read with the Jaws cursor or, and this
is easier, with the normal PC cursor. To read the messages with the PC
you need to single left click on the text of any message. This puts the
cursor into a normal read-only edit box from which you can read a history of
When it's time to type another message, just start typing. The cursor will
automatically move to the edit box where messages are typed before sending.
To send, press enter. Note that a press of backspace will also bring you
from the edit box with the history of messages into the edit box for typing
Also note that most symbols will not. That is, when you're in the history
read-only edit and type ".", you'll still be in the history edit box. When,

you type "a" or press the backspace key, you'll be taken to the edit box

where you type your messages.

To move on, at the top of the instant message window, just below the title

line, are the mail and call buttons. These are self-explanatory. Hitting
mail, the keyboard shortcut for which is F9, will bring you to a Gmail
page ready for a message. Hitting call, the shortcut for which is f11, will
result in ringing and, once your friend picks up, you can talk as usual into
your mic. In the call window, once a call has been initiated, there is a
"end call" and "mute" button. The keyboard shortcut for end call seems to be
and you can use that same shortcut if you place a call, your friend hasn't
answered, and you want to stop ringing his line. Again, these buttons do
they say. Note that the only change I can see when the mute button is on is
that it changes colour. That is, when your microphone is unmuted, the colour
is reported by Jaws as "midnight blue on black". When the microphone is
muted, the colour is reported as "orange 3 on black". The mute button is a
hit it once to mute, again to unmute. To answer a call, click the answer
button when the call notification comes up. There's also an ignore button.

Let me say that I think I've made this sound too complicated. It took me
about ten minutes with the program and some help from a friend, to get the
of most of its functions, which process was very much quickened by its
simplicity. Of course, Google has a lot of improving to do, but much of this
relatively standard (put the contacts in a list, put in some more keyboard
shortcuts, put the messages in an edit field). Other than that, Google's
is very usable, though not easily accessed. The audio quality is impressive,
and that makes up for a lot.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "chandrashekhar kulkarni" <kulkarni_chandra at yahoo.co.uk>
To: <accessindia at accessindia.org.in>
Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2007 12:30 PM
Subject: [AI] How to use Google talk.

> Dear member,
> I have installed skype but due to very slow interrnet
> connection I am unable to  use it properly. Once I get
> broadband connection I will use it.
> In the meantime, can any of the members list the steps
> that I have to follow for using google talk including
> for signing in and out. Since my daughter has gone
> abroad this will help me to chat with her when she is
> online.
> Awaiting your most valuable help,
> Sincerely yours,
> C. B. Kulkarni.
> Mobile 9820811332
> Land line 95251-2482633.
> ___________________________________________________________
> Yahoo! Messenger - with free PC-PC calling and photo sharing. 
> http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com
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