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Tuesday, August 23, 2005, 09:15 am PT (12:15 pm ET)

Google Talk instant messaging to work with iChat?

Google this week is expected to introduce its own instant messaging system that may be compatible with third party services such as Apple's iChat.

Citing sources "familiar with the service," the Los Angeles Times is reporting the instant message service, dubbed Google Talk, could launch as early as Wednesday.

"According to a person who has seen the service, Google plans to let users chat using more than just their keyboards," the Times said. "Like similar programs from competitors, Google Talk also will let computer users with a headset have voice conversations with other computer users with headsets, this person said."

Independently, journalist Om Malik on his blog said clues indicate that Google is basing the service on the open-source Jabber technology. This would allow Google Talk users to communicated with other services that support Jabber, including AOL's ICQ and Apple iChat.

A spokesperson for Google told the Times that the company planned to release a new product this week, but declined to say whether that product was Google Talk.

The domain name talk.google.com is currently active but directs users to www.google.com/talk/, which yields a 404 page "Not Found" error.

Earlier this week, Google announced Google Desktop 2, a free downloadable application that combining desktop search with an intelligent sidebar that learns a user's habits and interests. The software is only compatible with Microsoft's Windows operating system.