According to the Ars Technica article on Hangouts, we can expect Google to drop support for XMPP federation.
We should apparently be happy that Google is not dropping XMPP client-to-server connections.
The instant messaging space is apparently turning into a duopoly of Microsoft's Skype and Google's Hangouts with everyone else shoved to the sidelines. I'm not counting Facebook Chat as a serious alternative, and iMessage is not intended as an instant messaging service.
I hopefully don't have to point out how much this frustrates and annoys me. Google is turning out to be worse than Microsoft ever was: they're actively backpedaling on their past promises. They're backstabbing the "open". Scratch that — they're throwing a stake through open's heart, ripping it in pieces, then gorging on its still beating remains. Instead of reading RSS through Reader, we're supposed to read custom posts via the closed and locked down Google+. They are killing iGoogle. They're basically killing the open web and open Internet, while at the same time paying lip service to open.
Android, which is just-enough-Linux-but-not-really. Rich authorship markup, which requires two-way linking to Google+ instead of using the semantic web techniques.
I'll keep on looking for ways to back out of Google ecosystem as much as possible. What's next — Gmail that can't send emails out?
After all the years we've had Firefox plugins to insert page previews into search results, Google finally added their own. They dubbed it "Instant previews". These previews are vertically larger than what any of the plugins did before, they include enlarged select portions of text relevant to your query, and they appear only when you click on a search result text (not on the link). After that, you can just hover the mouse above search results.
So what I wonder is: could it be that Google embarked on a journey to build a hyperfast browsing experience in order to provide a better search experience? Or was Chrome really just a part of a larger scheme to collect customer data and statistically analyze it, as was thought previously? I'm not sure; probably it was "let's build a browser first" and then "what can we use the browser for?" — but the idea that Chrome might be the developed in order to alleviate performance issues that using some other browsers might create running on Google's servers does not strike me as impossible. This way, they can generate previews without creating a horrible, horrible impact that using some other browser might create.
I just wonder when we'll be able to see the codebase they use for creating the previews, and will they even release it, considering that WebKit's LGPL (derived from KHTML's LGPL) does not require source code release unless the binaries are released; even then, if libs are dynamically linked, source code release is required only for modified library binaries. Still, having a free, usable off-screen rendered WebKit would be very useful. But oh — there is already such a thing, for example Origyn Web Browser (site seems down, here's a wikipedia link)
Update, August 9th 2009: It's used only on Google Chrome, and it's used by the Search Pad for improving the user experience by speeding up responsiveness. I've recently written a new post on the subject.
I've just used Yahoo! Search in Google Chrome. I got a typical Gears popup asking me if I want to let the web site use Gears. I still have no idea why Yahoo! suddenly likes using a Google product; neither Google Search nor Yahoo! Search are helpful for several keywords.
Any info, anyone?