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Gmail adds voice and video chat

Gmail adds voice and video chat

Launching today, Gmail voice and video chat lets Kiwis have free, high-quality voice and video chats with friends and family anywhere in the world. And it all takes place without leaving the browser - no more switching to another window or running another program.

All that's needed is a webcam and small browser plug-in. If you don't have a webcam, you can simply chat by voice.

”Sometimes there's no substitute for speaking to and seeing someone, and in tighter economic times, an online video or voice chat is a cost-effective option,„ says Alan Noble, Google's Head of Engineering for Australia and New Zealand. ”If a smiley face and a 'lol' aren't getting your message across, with a simple click you can now share your real meaning face-to-face over a video connection.„

Using Gmail voice and video chat:

To get started, open a Gmail chat window, click on the ”Options„ menu at the bottom, and choose ”Add voice/video chat,„ which will walk you through a one-time installation of a free plugin (a quick 2 MB download). When you re-open Gmail you'll notice your ”Options„ link in your chat window has changed to ”Video & more„. Open this menu and click ”Start video chat„ to see and hear your conversation partner in high-quality video. You can pop out the video and change its size and position, or switch to full screen. If you don't have a webcam, you can simply chat by voice.

Gmail voice and video chat is being rolled out globally over the next day or so in all 50 languages supported by Gmail, on PCs and on Macs. Google Apps customers get this service as well, at no extra charge, and can video chat with any other Gmail or Apps users.

To use voice and video chat, your PC must have Windows XP or a more recent version, or an Intel-Based Mac with Mac OS X v10.4 or later. It works in all browsers that support the latest version of Gmail (Google Chrome, Firefox 2.0+, Internet Explorer 7.0, and Safari 3.0).

To get started, visit http://mail.google.com/videochat.


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