Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Google Adds Voice/Video Chat To Gmail

Google has added video and voice capabilities for the chat function that is already embedded in the Gmail interface. Details were posted yesterday on the Official Google Blog as well as the Official Gmail Blog.

The new chat tools are accessed through the main Gmail interface and users who want to use the service must install a small plug-in (only a couple of megabytes in size) to his or her Web-browser. Gmail runs in Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Google's Chrome beta.

Once you install the plugin, to start a video chat, just click on the "Video & more" menu at the bottom of your Gmail chat window, and choose "Start video chat." You'll have a few seconds to make sure you look presentable while it's ringing, and then you'll see and hear your friend live, right from within Gmail. You can click the "pop-out" iconto make the video larger, or click the fullscreen iconin the upper left-hand corner for a fully immersive experience.

As you can see from the video the interface is fairly basic and you shouldn't expect a ton of features. Its also worth noting that some reviewers have stated having lag issues or slow downs in PC responsiveness in older systems. Simplicity aside, the new voice/video chat is a fairly useful tool to anyone that already uses Gmail chat.

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