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How to Chat with Somebody (or a Group) in Gmail

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In Gmail, you can mail anybody quickly. You know that, and for any type of message that does not require instant feedback it is just perfect.

Gmail is Also Google Talk

In Gmail, you can also chat with anybody quickly, though. Gmail includes an instant messaging client that lets you talk to Gmail users as well as other people connected to the Google Talk network right from your browser, right from Gmail.

The chat conversations you have in Gmail (or using another client connected with Google Talk) can be recorded, archived and searched just like email threads. And, like chatting itself, chatting in Gmail is easy.

Chat with Somebody (or a Group) in Gmail

To send somebody an instant message in Gmail:

  • Locate the contact.
    • If you want to chat with somebody with whom you exchange emails often, they will appear in your Chat panel automatically.
    • You can also use the Search people field in the Chat panel to locate somebody by name or email address.
    • Alternatively, open an email from the desired sender or locate them in the Gmail Contacts.
  • Hover your mouse over the contact name or email address.
  • Select the Chat button on the sheet that comes up.
    • If you can only see Invite to Chat, the contact has yet to accept instant messages from you. Click it and follow the steps.
    • If a contact is offline, the ball next to their name will appear gray instead of green (online), orange (away) or red (busy). Send them an email.
  • Type your message and hit Enter.
  • To add more people to your chat:
    • Click the Add people to this chat button.
    • Type the desired contact's name or email address.
    • Click Invite.

Include AIM Buddies Into Gmail Chat

You can add AIM buddies directly to Gmail chat. AIM helps you import your buddy list, too.

(Updated September 2012)

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