Newbie ? -- Asterisk & Google Talk? Remote access

Having read the forum and Google-ing for the past 30 min. or so, I’m still curious if Asterisk “fully” supports Google talk? Such that can a user call from SIP-phone -> asterisk -> G-Talk client? Vice versa, G-Talk client -> Asterisk -> SIP-phone? I’m sure there are other fancy connectivity, but I figure I’ll start there.

Being a noobie for *, I haven’t even set up my own * Box yet, but am thinking of simply D/L a .iso of AsteriskNow onto a simple Intel-based machine, buy 2 or 3 SIP-phone.

My ultimate goal is to set up a voice system between myself and my work colleagues (small biz) so that we can call / txt each other since we are literally all over the world (USA, HKG, London) where each of us has a dedicated IP addr. Though, I haven’t read up on “remote access” but I have read users that can connect to the * box back home when they are on travel (i.e., call from hotel)

To re-cap, I suppose my question are:

  1. Would installing AsteriskNow be the simplest way to get started?
  2. Any recommendation on SIP-phone that’s economical and able to do voice and text data (simultaneously?)
  3. Work-ability with Google Talk with *

Thanks in advance guys & gals!