Saturday, November 15, 2008

Exciting News from Google--Video Chat

The Life of all Googlers has just gotten even better! This past week, Google added a Video Chat option to Gmail (free email service). Now, right within your Gmail you can choose to have a video chat with a friend or colleague. Just yesterday, a friend of ours that recently moved to Duluth, Minnesoate invited me to a Gmail Video Chat. The video chat came across great without any delays or feedback.
To get started with Gmail's Video Chat feature, you must first have a Gmail account. To sign up for a Gmail account, go to and click on the Sign up for Gmail link. Take the time to go through the tour if you want to know a bit more about how to use Gmail.
In order to use the Video Chat feature you need to download the video chat plugin. The plug-in is compatible with both PCs and Macs and is simple to install.

Installing the Video Chat Plug-In

To add the Video Chat feature to your Gmail account:
  1. Go to
  2. Then, click on the Install Voice and Video Chat button and go through the installation process.
  3. You will then be prompted to restart your browser. After doing so, you need to log into your Gmail account.
  4. You will now have the option to do a video chat.
  5. View the following video about the Video Chat by clicking on the play button.

What equipment will I need?
In order to do a Video Chat you need a webcam. This webcam can be internal or external. Most laptops come with a built in webcam that you can see above the monitor of the laptop. If you do not have a built in webcam, you can purchase an external webcam to hook up to your computer.

Basics of Video Chatting
Once you've installed the plug-in and have your webcam and/or microphone hooked up, it's time to contact a friend or colleague and start communicating! In the Chat section of your Gmail, you need to select the contact you want to call. If they have a camera icon next to their contact name, you can make a voice or video call to them by clicking on Video and more.

If you aren't ready to enter the video chat world, perhaps you want to simply do a "voice chat" using Video Chat. If so, you simply need to have a built in microphone or an external microphone that plugs into your microphone jack.

Let's say that you and I have a Video Chat. I have a webcam and you have a microphone. I would be able to hear you, and you would see the video of me on your end! Make Sense? (I think voice chat is a fabulous option as sometimes, quite honestly, I'd rather not be SEEN...early morning, no makeup, hair amuss!)

Alrighty, so now I'm hoping all my friends and family get signed up for Video Chat. It would be a great way for our families to catch up with one another!