Gmail is rolling out a new feature today: Voice and Video Chat. The bad news–for me, not you–is that it isn’t showing up for me yet when I log into Gmail. The good news? I happened to be visiting Google when the news broke, so I got an in-person demo. (They say that it’ll be available to all Gmail users by the end of the day.)
The feature looks cool, and it’s exceedingly straightforward. When you’re in Gmail, your contact list will show a little green camera icon next to any buddy who has a Webcam, is online, and has installed the Gmail Voice and Video Chat plug-in (which works with IE 7, some versions of IE 6, Firefox, Safari, and, of course, Chrome). Click the icon, and you get a chat window with video in the botton right-hand corner of the Gmail interface. (You can also blow it up to full-screen mode.)
Here’s Google’s demo:
I haven’t used Gmail for chat much; this is a reason to give it a try…assuming that I can get the folks I’d like to chat with to install Google’s plug-in, that is.