Today it was reported by cnet that Google is rolling out Video Chat feature in Google’s web mail service – Gmail. Rafe Needleman of cnet called it a “bare-bones voice and video-conferencing service” which is extremely simple to install and use but has very limited functionality.
Gmail Video and Voice, as it’s called, can’t connect to the plain phone network, as Skype’s paid service can. And there are plenty of other optional features missing, like a voice call recorder.
Rafe had the privilege to test it out first and he have found the voice and video quality on the service excellent. Gmail’s Video quality is supposed to be more consistent than Skype because it doesn’t run on a point-to-point architecture like Skype, instead all the Gmail Video traffic all runs through Google’s private servers.
Unlike many current video chat products, Gmail Video and Voice uses their own proprietary plug-in and not Adobe’s Flash Player. The small (2MB) download supports Firefox, IE, and Chrome on the PC, and Firefox on the Mac. Linux & mobile browser support will be included later, source said.
How to Start Video Chat in Gmail
Gmail Video and Voice will be publicly available to all Gmail users starting Tuesday at noon PST. Global rollout should be complete by the end of the day. If you would like to check whether you have this functionality, simply open up a chat window with someone and if your account is video-enabled, at the lower left of the chat window, there will be an interface element labeled “Video & more.” Clicking on that will directly walk you through the installation of the plug-in that is required. If you want to make a video call to someone who hasn’t yet installed the plug-in, you’ll be able to invite them to do so.
Sadly even though the existing Desktop chat client – Google Talk has voice support it may only get the video capability later.
Watch the following video that introduces Google Video & Chat Program:
My Two Cents
I’m really excited to try out this new video feature of Gmail. But I’d much prefer to have that feature in my Google Talk instead of Gmail. What do you say? Share in comments!