Voice and Video Chat in Gmail Now Available for Linux Users
Article by George Norman
On 23 Aug 2010
The advantage of using the Microsoft-developed Windows operating system is that you have early access to various applications and their functions. Take voice and video chat in Gmail for example. It was way back in 2008 that Mountain View-based search engine giant Google rolled out the voice and video plugin to allow Windows user to voice and video chat right inside Gmail.

Linux users who wanted access to the same functionality had to just sigh and wait for Google to roll out the plugin for their operating system as well. And they had to wait for quite a long time. To be more precise, they had to wait until last week – keeping in mind that Windows users had access to the plugin since November 2008, it’s been almost a 2-year wait.


“If you’ve been wanting to use voice and video chat on Linux (our top video chat request), then we have good news for you: it’s now available! Visit gmail.com/videochat to download the plugin and get started. Voice and video chat for Linux supports Ubuntu and other Debian-based Linux distributions, and RPM support will be coming soon,” announced Software Engineer Tristan Schmelcher.

Voice and video chat in Gmail is offered by Google free of charge. After you get the plugin, you will be able to enjoy high quality audio and video chat right within Gmail, iGoogle and Orkut. If you have problems using the plugin, check out this help article.

Now if you were wondering why Linux users had to wait two years to get this type of functionality, Tech Lead with Google Realtime Communications, Justin Uberti, offers some insight: “This release required significant engineering to develop an all-new video rendering solution and an all-new PulseAudio-based audio handler, along with work to support 64-bit and countless webcam compatibility tests. We spent a lot of effort to make it fully feature-complete, with all the same goodies as the Windows and Mac versions, and we're happy to now support Google voice and video now on all major desktop platforms.”

Tags: Linux, Google, Gmail, Voice and video chat
About the author: George Norman
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