Thursday, February 09, 2006

Gmail and GTalk Join Forces

The next time you log into your Gmail account you may notice some of the chat features that are now available with the recent update to Gmail. The most noticeable changes are the new "Chats" folder and the "quick contacts" list on the left menu. The quick contests list doubly serves to notify you of your contacts that are currently online/offline/idle/ or in a conversation.

If you have a contact online, click on their name in the quick contests list and, wowzers, a floating div becomes available to host your conversation. One very nice feature Google provided with the chat is the ability to pop in (as a floating div) or pop out the dialog box (as a new window).

The folks at Google were also kind enough to create the "Chats" folder which allows us, if we so choose, to begin logging our conversations to our mailbox. This addition makes it easier to keep track of those important instant message conversations that may have been getting lost. This is my favorite new addition to Gmail. Lately I have been emailing about 90% of my conversations to myself so that I could back-reference them quickly. I have a feeling that anybody who works over the Internet and uses instant messaging as their primary form of communication will also find this feature extremely useful. Now we just need to get all of those good ole AIM users to sign up for a Gmail account.

One final note: There is a slight delay in the chat history logging. Consequently, if you are talking with someone over GTalk while simultaneously viewing your conversation history, you may find that the conversation in the history window is only partially complete. Don't go email Google and say, "my chat history is broke", just give it about 5 or 10 minutes and the conversation will be compiled in its entirety.

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