The all-encompassing entity known as Google continues its onslaught into our lives with the launch of voice and video chat inside their popular Gmail email service.
To get your browser buzzing with all that juicy chat/video action, it’s simply a case of pointing your browser here and downloading the free (Windows XP or later only – Mac coming later) plug.
The program installs in minutes and after a quick browser reboot, you’re ready to go (so long as you’ve got a webcam and microphone, natch!
Here’s how Google describe the process in their blog:
“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.!
To get start a video chat, you click on the “Video & more” menu at the bottom of the Gmail chat window, select “Start video chat” and out on your best pout to start the call. Clicking on the “pop-out” icon lets you make the video larger, with a fullscreen option. The person you’re chatting to fills the window while your own ugly mug appears in a smaller overlaid image in the right bottom corner.
Google’s new servoce is unlikely to get Skype in a fearful lather quite yet as it’s a pretty basic stuff, but it’s certainly an interesting development and its open source foundations means that some exciting mash-up stuff could be a-comin’ around the mountain soon.
Google is rolling out the service in all Gmail and Google Apps accounts over the next couple of days.