Chat app to feature on iGoogle

3 Mar 2009

Google’s iGoogle portal is to add a chat widget that will allow users to enjoy instant messaging alongside other favourite applications.

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.

Until now, Gmail’s chat programme hasn’t been available on iGoogle, where everything else from weather reports, Gmail, multiple RSS feeds and other widgets could be displayed on a single web page.

Rhett Robinson, Google Talk engineer, said that over the past seven months Google has been running experiments with a small number of iGoogle users, as well as internally, to bring the Gmail chat programme to iGoogle.

“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,” Robinson said on the official Google blog.

“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.

“Don’t want to be bothered while you’re checking out the latest news or reading your emails? You have a couple of options to hide the chat feature. You can either click the chat ‘options’ link and selecting ‘hide chat’, or sign off completely by selecting ‘sign out of chat,’” Robinson said.

By John Kennedy