Most Gmail users have, by now, noticed that it is possible to chat – that is, to conduct instant messaging sessions – right from their Gmail inboxes. We have actually come to a point where pretty much all web-based email service providers make it possible for their users of their services to conduct chats (instant messaging sessions) from within their inboxes. But what we may end up forgetting is the fact that Google, through Gmail Chat, was actually the pioneer in this area.
In days gone by, users of Google services who wanted to chat would have to download the GTalk client, install it on their computers, and proceed to chat there. But then, it would seem that some hard-thinker at Google came up with the idea of actually integrating the chat client with the email: the end result being an instant messaging service we now refer to as Google Chat. So, in a way, Google Chat is actually an extension of GTalk: where GTalk is integrated into Gmail.
One doesn’t have to do anything special, in order to be in a position to use the said Gmail Chat service. You are logged into the service automatically the moment you log into your Gmail account. Then you find a list of your contacts on the lower side of the inbox window’s left hand. To chat with a specific contact, you just move the mouse over his or her name, and then select ‘chat’ from the popup that comes up.