[access-uk] Re: A review of google talk instant messeging program

  • From: "Vanja Sudar" <vanja@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2005 22:31:19 +0100

I came across the exactly same problem when trying to register. I have e-mailed google about this several time, but never got any reply yet. Of course the best alternative would be, like most other sites do now is to have an audio alternative where characters are spoken, but till that happens we'll have to rely on someone's help. The only other thing we can do is keep presuring google and other companies to provide us with an alternative. I can understand why companies use this system, but it's also been proven that there is an alternative, although not perfect at least it gives us chance and most of the time it works.
MSN messenger: sudar23@xxxxxxxxxxx
AIM: vanja121
Skype: vanja121
----- Original Message ----- From: "Marie Baisez" <marie.baisez@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: <access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 9:56 PM
Subject: [access-uk] Re: A review of google talk instant messeging program

this sounds very interesting, has anyone managed to register with Gmail independently? I tried this the other day and encountered the dreaded characters in a picture and haven't found anyone to help with this yet.
Takes a while to catch hubby doing nothing special and in a good mood these days...
any tips about what to do to be able to read the characters myself would be appreciated

----- Original Message ----- From: "Vanja Sudar" <vanja@xxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, September 05, 2005 9:00 PM
Subject: [access-uk] A review of google talk instant messeging program

Hi everyone. Thought some of you might be interested in this review of google talk I found on another list. Google talk is a new I-M program made, obviously, by google. Note: in order to use this, you have to have a GMail account.

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 out. 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 all. 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 said 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
test 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
knowledge, 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
self-explanatory. 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 it can be wholly killed from there through
right-clicking on it if desired. Under that title line, one finds three
options. Inbox, settings, help. They're 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 settings 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 the 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 result 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 you'll 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 and 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
accessible 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 arrow 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 something 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 menu.

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 cursor, 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 messages. 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 messages. 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, however,
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
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
compose 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 f12, 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 what 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 toggle, 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 hang 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 is 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 product is very usable, though not easily accessed. The audio
quality is impressive, and that makes up for a lot.

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