Whether I’m on the move or retiring for the night, I appreciate being able to check in with friends and family on my Android devices. I constantly carry these conversations over from my desktop to my phone to my tablet depending on where I am and what I’m up to. That’s why I was glad to come across Talk.to, a simple app that brings all your Facebook and Google Talk contacts together so you can chat with ease.
Talk.to works with devices running Android 2.2 and up, looks good on both smartphones and tablets and is available for free in the Play Store. It supports multiple accounts on both networks and receives push notifications too, so you can rest assured that you’ll know when your contacts are sending you messages in real-time as long as you’re online.
Talk.to features a clean, light Holo-themed UI that makes it a joy to use. All you need to do to get started is add your Google Talk and Facebook accounts. Once logged in, you can swipe between the app’s three tabs to view your ongoing chats, find your favorite contacts quickly and see who’s online. The minimal interface isn’t customizable, but is nicely laid out and easy to get used to.
Tapping the @ icon at the top of the screen shows you your accounts, where you can log in/out, update your status and set a status message (Google Talk). There’s also a contacts search feature which works well enough and shows you your offline contacts, who you can message even if they’re not logged in.
Talk.to is nimble and fairly light on system resources, taking up about 10MB of memory when running a couple of chats. The app loads quickly and feels smooth while switching between chats and swiping through tabs, which I’m glad about. Messages arrive as quickly as in Google’s and Facebook’s native messaging apps, and you can always pull up older messages by swiping down at the top of a chat.
I personally don’t connect to any other chat networks besides the two in Talk.to, but their glaring omission might be a deal-breaker for many users who do. However, the app will soon have free worldwide SMS, which would make it worth considering as a multi-protocol chat option.
Currently, there’s not much you can do with Talk.to besides, well, talk to your contacts — most of the features I’d like to see are currently in the works, including group chat, the ability to add contacts and accept chat requests, muting/blocking contacts, sharing files and so on. I’d also like to be able to sort my contacts (by last contacted or alphabetically, like most phone dialers), view multiple chats side-by-side on my tablet and see who’s online (and any incoming messages) in a handy widget on my home screen.
Talk.to is great for those who want a single app to chat with loved ones on Facebook and Google Talk, with its small memory footprint, neat interface and quick performance. However, it may not impress power users who are looking for more features and customizability, offered by rivals like IM+ and Imo. Still, Talk.to’s upcoming features will certainly help its case in the future, as will the fact that it’s free, so keep an eye on it. If you chat a lot on your Android device, be sure to give this a try.