Video chat now easy for everyone

While Internet video continues to threaten cable and satellite television, a new intruder besides Skype now threatens to alter the person-to-person communication landscape. Google has added video chat for Gmail users.

Gmail video chat is easy and fun. It took five minutes to download the plug-ins and set up my two Macs. In the spirit of the millennial iGeneration to which my older daughter belongs, she and I immediately felt compelled to conduct a Gmail video chat test from separate rooms in our house.

vidchat21With its full-screen option, the interface feels a bit like YouTube, plus it includes picture within a picture so you can see both yourself and your audience. The interface doesn’t include too many options to click, so it doesn’t seem overly technical. If anyone on your contact list is currently logged in to Gmail and has installed the video chat plug-ins, you are ready to communicate visually and verbally.

Of course, if you don’t leave your computer on all day with your Web browser open to Gmail, you won’t know that someone wants to call you. So while video chat seems easy and fun, it’s not practical for everyone. Also, it may not work on some older computers.

THE VERDICT: PLUG IN if you have friends who already use Gmail. Even video chat novices like me can sense its potential.

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~ by bakerumedia on November 17, 2008.

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