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How to Use Gmail Video Chat

written by: Arnold Zafra•edited by: Misty Faucheux•updated: 6/15/2009

Gmail's Video Chat facility has been out for months now, and yet it has not been much attention and its user-base is not quite what you expect from a Google product. If you're keen on using Gmail video chat but don't know how to start, here's a quick guide on how to use Gmail Video Chat.

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    Introduction

    While Gmail's Video Chat has been out since November last year, it still has not earned some popularity among users. It is quite surprising since Gmail is a well-used web mail client, and one can't help but wonder why Gmail Video Chat is not quite as popular. This could probably be due to the fact that using Gmail Video Chat requires special steps in setting it up, not Unlike Yahoo Messenger, where video chat is embedded into the system.

    But this does not mean using Gmail Video Chat is left for the techie mind. Quite contrary, it is really not that hard to set it up. You just need to get a plug-in and install it on your Gmail account, and then fire up the video chat facility.

    For those who want a step-by-step procedure, here's how to use Gmail Video Chat.

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    What You Need?

    First. of course, you should have your webcam to make the video chat a two-way conversation between you and whoever it is you will be chatting with. But this doesn't mean that you can do video chat via Gmail if you don't have a webcam ready. You still can, but the person you are chatting with won't see you at the other end of the line.

    If the issue of webcam is settled, you need to download the Gmail voice and video chat plug-in. You need to close all open windows of your browser and install the plug-in as soon as you've finished downloading it.

    After that, sign in to Gmail and select the contact you want to call in the chat section of your Gmail account. You'll immediately notice who are available for video chat if they have a camera icon beside their name.

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    Features of Gmail Video Chat

    While in a video chat, you can make the video larger by clicking the "pop-out" icon, or click the full screen icon to make the video chat more compelling with the image of the person you are chatting with in full screen mode.

    To download the Gmail video chat plug-in, simply visit http://gmail.com/videochat.

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    Conclusion

    Gmail Video Chat may not be as sophisticated as other video chat facility that were built using more sophisticated platform, such as Adobe Flash or Adobe Air, it still is a very useful tool. And just like any other Google product, it's simplicity and lack of fanfare could very well contribute to its success. If only, it could get the attention it deserves.