Google adds video to e-mail and chat

November 12th, 2008 | by Alfred Siew

It’s one of those things that make you go: “why didn’t I think of that”?

Google has come up with another useful tool for its growing Gmail user base, by letting them conveniently talk to their contacts via a video or audio link.

As we know, users can already IM or chat with people over Gmail, using its built-in chat function. The nifty part about this is that you can chat with someone instantly if he/she is online, rather than shooting e-mails to and fro cyberspace.

Now, this is taken further with video and voice chat. If you, like I, already use Gmail, this is a no-brainer to add on, especially if you already got a laptop with camera + microphone built-in.

To install the Google application, you’ll need to open up a chat window, click on options and select the option to do voice/video. It then installs a plugin necessary for the new service.

My only gripe – for an otherwise excellent free service – is that this wasn’t installed automatically into the system. But I’m not really complaining, if it makes it so much more intuitive to chat with anyone on the e-mail list (permitted by you of course).

It’ll be another reason why I am keeping my IM pretty private (I have only a dozen contacts coz I don’t like to add people I end up blocking anyway). I can talk to people on Gmail without exposing my IM list, which can pop up all over the desktop.

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