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Monday, November 17, 2008

Gmail: video and voice chat.

Gmail has yet come with a new feature. A few days ago, they introduced the ability to send emails and text messages on mobile devices. But the service is only available to a few selected users, and it will soon become public.

But today’s highlight is the new Voice and Video chat capabilities that Google has added to its popular web mail application. The Gmail blog announced today that they have added a new feature that will be available to all the users. The only thing you have to do is download and install the plugin from within Gmail.

The Gmail team preferred to have interoperability in their new service, that’s why they developed this technology on popular web protocols like the XMPP and the legacy RTP. The videos are encoded with H.264, which mean some old computers may have problems decoding and running a smooth stream. Nevertheless, if you are on an Intel Pentium 4 or higher, then there is nothing to worry about.

You can view the videos in the small fly-out panel or pop-em out to a large PIP view. You can even blow them up to full screen and have a smooth chatting experience at the same time. The plug-in developers were nice enough to make a tutorial video for us, highlighting some of the features of this new service along with instructions on how to use them.

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