Google Promoting Gmail Voice and Video Chat

    June 8, 2009
    Chris Crum

Update: Google has mysteriously added a little promotion to its homepage for "new" gmail voice and video chat. This original article is from November, so unless I’m missing something, it’s not exactly a new featue. I guess they just want to give it some attention. I haven’t seen any new Google blog posts about it or anything:

Google Homepage

Original Article: Google’s released some cool new features for Gmail today in voice and video chat, bascially allowing for web conferencing right from your Gmail account. On the official Gmail Blog,

We’ve tried to make this an easy-to-use, seamless experience, with high-quality audio and video — all for free. All you have to do is download and install the voice and video plugin and we take care of the rest. And in the spirit of open communications, we designed this feature using Internet standards such as XMPP, RTP, and H.264, which means that third-party applications and networks can choose to interoperate with Gmail voice and video chat.

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. See this all in action in the video below:

These features are sure to be a big hit with Gmail users, as having another way to communicate is always appreciated (especially when it’s free). Google notes that it may take a day or two for the features to become available to all Gmail users, but rest assured, they’re coming. And if you just can’t wait, you can download a plug-in here. Of course you’ll need the proper equipment like microphones/webcams.