iGoogle Homepage Gets Social with Built-In Chat
Article by George Norman
On 05 Mar 2009
The instant messaging feature you have come to know and like in Gmail, has now been ported by the Mountain View company to the iGoogle homepage. What this means is that you can now enjoy the social features of Google Talk or Gmail Chat directly in your browser window. The downside is that iGoogle chat is currently available for US users only. Users from other parts of the world are expected to get the same functionality in their iGoogle homepage in the near future.

Google Talk Engineer, Rhett Robinson comments: “Similar to the chat feature on Gmail, people will be able to send instant messages to their colleagues, friends and family straight from their iGoogle page. We've made this easy. If you're already a Gmail chat user, all your current chat settings will apply to iGoogle, so things will work the way you like in both places. But even more exciting is that you'll even be able to chat with friends who don't yet have a Gmail address — any email address will do. All you have to do is invite them as a chat buddy, and if they accept your invitation and sign up for iGoogle with their personal email account, their name becomes just a click away right on your page.”

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If for some reason you do not want to chat directly in the iGoogle homepage, there are two options at your disposal. The first one is the simplest and it requires you to sign out of chat. The other is a bit more complicated, but not by much – you have to access the chat “options” and select “hide chat”.

It should also be noted that even though Gmail chat and Google Talk work just fine, the built-in chat feature in iGoogle is a new feature and as such it may still have some bugs in it. You can expect to run into some problems while using it; as these problems come to light during Google’s task and thanks to user feedback, they will be fixed. The decision to roll out iGoogle chat to US users only is also due to the fact that this is a new feature. Slowly but surely it will be rolled out to users from other countries as well (it will also provide support for their native language).





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