Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Google Chat

A new feature for Gmail (or Google Mail) is being rolled out over the next 2-3 weeks.

It allows users to chat from within Gmail. Google describes the new feature here. From the page:

Gmail learned to Talk. Now Gmail accounts are automatically enabled with chat
features. You don't have to do anything special, it just works. See when your
friends are online and decide for yourself how you want to get in touch with
them. Email and instant messaging don't have to be so different. And why should
you always have to remember whether something important was said over email or
IM? We've made it easy for you to save chats, so
you can search for them, print them, even reply to one over email.

This is presumably to improve the poor response to their Google Talk service, which has lagged behind rivals such as MSN and Yahoo! messengers. The Gmail Chat will work, as Google Talk does, with Jabber clients as well as scattering other email providers. It's a good idea, and will presumably be a master class in how to use AJAX (asynchrous javascript and XML, it is a way to update information on a page without needing a total reload).#

Update: There's now an Official Google Blog post on Google Chat here. It doesn't really have any new information, it just talks about some of the usual Google idealism (genuine or otherwise) behind the project.

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