Gmail Chat, Now with Audio and Video
Article by George Norman
On 12 Nov 2008
According to the Gmail Blog, all it takes is for you to initiate a small download and then you will be able to communicate with your buddies by means of high quality video and audio streaming. You will of course need a webcam, but luckily enough Google provides for everything.

I felt the need to say that because the moment I clicked on the “learn more” tab all I could see in front of my eyes were Logitech webcam adds. According to Google this is meant to aid you – these are top end cameras that are delivered free-of-charge and with a considerable discount. Still, I would rather do my own research and see what the market has to offer. Thanks for the heads-up though.


Using the new feature is a very straightforward process: download, install, sign in to you Gmail account, and call one of your buddies. Even if that person does not have webcam, he can still see you and hear you (but he must install the software as well).

According to Greg Sterling from Sterling Marketing Intelligence, the great thing about the new feature is that it is part of Gmail, which has never been done before. Sure, Yahoo! and Microsoft also provide video chat options, but not in their email client. On the downside, Sterling does not believe that it will have a great impact on Google. Gmail users will undoubtedly appreciate it and use it, but they will not flock to Gmail simply because it now offers audio and video chat.

There are a few other things that need mentioning. Since this feature has just now been implemented, there are some drawbacks. You cannot make a conference call, you can only talk one-on-one. You can chat with other Gmail users only; you cannot call a mobile phone number for example. If you were planning to record your conversations, this option is also not available at this point in time.

Tags: Google, Gmail
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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