Gmail expands to include voice and video

Gmail expands to include voice and video

Summary: Sometimes, that back-and-forth typing of an IM chat just isn't working for you in a way that a voice conversation or face-to-face meeting might.Today, Google launched video and voice chat for Gmail - not necessarily a ground-breaking feature but somewhat different from other models because the feature is built into the Gmail inbox window, instead of a separate application.

SHARE:

Sometimes, that back-and-forth typing of an IM chat just isn't working for you in a way that a voice conversation or face-to-face meeting might.

Gmail Video ChatToday, Google launched video and voice chat for Gmail - not necessarily a ground-breaking feature but somewhat different from other models because the feature is built into the Gmail inbox window, instead of a separate application. I can already conduct a voice and video chat through services such as Yahoo Messenger - but only in the separate downloaded-and-installed Messenger client.

Skype also has a similar feature - but, again, Skype is a downloaded client and not Web-based. Where Skype kicks it up a notch is the ability to connect those voice conversations with regular phones - a feature that costs a few extra pennies.

While the Gmail voice and video chat features are built into the Gmail window, there is a one-time download-and-install of a plug-in that allows the feature to run within Gmail. It's compatible with PCs and Macs.

The rollout just started today so the feature might not be available in your Gmail account  yet - but if you want to fast-forward the install, click here to install the plug-in.

Topics: Collaboration, Browser, Cloud, Google

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

8 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • You can't blame them for trying.

    A Question.
    Exactly, Precisely ,
    What is this Plug??
    Yet another spy gadget for google?
    Aaron
    Aaron A Baker
    • umm...

      It's a Web-based VOIP app.

      And really, do you think there's anything you can do and be totally anonymous? Seriously. If you use integrated communications, someone somewhere can spy on you. It's a fact of the information age. It doesn't mean they do - why someone would want to know about me I don't know.
      bfpower
    • It's just for if you don't want the GMail page open.

      Put away the tinfoil hat, kiddie ^^
      AzuMao
  • At the same time

    I don't think I will use it. I use Skype for IM and A/V calls. I haven't used Gmail Chat more than about once (if that).
    bfpower
  • Not ready for Linux

    According to Google, they are "working toward" a Linux version of the new chat/video option. Which means, of course, we might as well stick with Skype.
    at78rpm
  • Does it have to be a plugin for browser?

    Great... more bloat for Firefox... one extra thing that gets loaded in memory every time I run Firefox from now on, even if I rarely (if at all) use it.
    m23weiu@...
    • No

      You don't need to install anything to use this (other then flash and a web browser of your choice).

      The plugin is optional. It's so you can use this without having GMail open.
      AzuMao
  • How about the other versions of the client?

    I'd like to know when they are going to get ALL of the features that each of the three Google IM clients have and get them integrated or synced up in all three clients. I normally run GTalk, the standalone client that is installed to the PC and it doesn't have the updated emoticons or video or a few other tweaks that the other two have. I went to
    http://www.google.com/talk/ to launch the Talk Gadget and I didn't see the video ability in there. But from what I can tell, all features are in the GMail popout client. WTF??
    ripcrd