Report: Google to offer instant messaging

Google will begin offering an instant messaging service, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Google Inc. is poised to add yet another product to its lineup, offering an instant messaging service called Google Talk, the Los Angeles Times newspaper reported Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.

Google Talk will allow PC users to have voice conversations over headsets, the newspaper said, quoting someone who has seen the service, which sources said has been tested for "at least" a month.

An instant messaging service from search engine stalwart Google would expand the company's offerings yet again into terrain that has been dominated by competitors such as America Online Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Although Yahoo has long been a search rival of Google's, both AOL and Microsoft have pushed into search in recent years, encroaching on Google's turf. The addition of instant messaging would augment Google's e-mail service, its splashy online maps site and Google Sidebar, which allows users to receive feeds of news, photographs, weather reports and stock information to their desktops without using an Internet browser.

One source was quoted by the Times as saying that Google Talk would be announced Wednesday, but another source wasn't aware of a date for the release.

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