Moving away from Google Talk to a real Jabber/XMPP service

I've been recently concerned about the future of Google Talk service and all the implications related to recent changes to the existing service. What has been a nice implementation of the Jabber/XMPP protocol once, now is just a closed and proprietary service. The main problem with these changes are:

  • Jabber/XMPP users of other services won't be able to talk anymore to Google Talk users
  • Google is killing some of their native clients (like the Windows one) and forcing users to Chrome or Android/iOS versions
  • Google has disabled the possibility to turn off chat recording (you can still do it individually, for each contact)

So, what are the alternatives to Google Talk? Luckly you have at least three options.

Using an existing Jabber/XMPP service

This is surely the easiest way to get a Jabber/XMPP account. There is a list of free services available here: https://xmpp.net/directory.php registering a new account is usually very easy. Most of the clients have an option that let you register the account while you are configuring it. For example if you are using Pidgin and you want to register an account with DukGo service, you can configure it in this way:

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Using an hosted Jabber/XMPP service with your domain

A service called HostedIM offer a very nice service. Basically if you already have a domain, you can register an account on hosted.im, setup your DNS following their instructions and create an account directly on their dashboard. You can create up to 5 accounts for free. If you need more, they offer a paid service for that. In my case all I had to do was updating my DNS with the following configuration:

_xmpp-client._tcp.andreagrandi.it. IN SRV 10 0 5222 xmpp1.hosted.im.
_xmpp-client._tcp.andreagrandi.it. IN SRV 20 0 5222 xmpp2.hosted.im.
_xmpp-server._tcp.andreagrandi.it. IN SRV 20 0 5269 xmpp2.hosted.im.
_xmpp-server._tcp.andreagrandi.it. IN SRV 10 0 5269 xmpp1.hosted.im.
_jabber._tcp.andreagrandi.it. IN SRV 20 0 5269 xmpp2.hosted.im.
_jabber._tcp.andreagrandi.it. IN SRV 10 0 5269 xmpp1.hosted.im.

Hosting your own Jabber/XMPP service

If you have a VPS and some syasdmin skills, why not hosting your own XMPP server? There are different options available, but I can suggest you three in particular:

I haven't tried any of these personally, because for the moment I'm using the service offered by hosted.im. I'm curious anyway to configure at least one of them and when I will do it I will publish a dedicated tutorial about it.

Conclusion

Given the recent changes that Google is doing to all their services, I'm more than happy when I can abandon one of them, because I personally don't like to rely (and bind myself) to a single company, expecially if that company closes a service whenever they want and try to lock you inside their ecosystem.

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