Video Chat

This entry is part 17 of 35 in the series Green Belt

It was only a matter of time before Google integrated video in to their GoogleTalk protocol and made it available directly from Gmail. Well, now you can talk face to face with your friends with voice and video without leaving Gmail.

The first step is to ensure you have a camera and the proper drivers installed. If your camera is built in to your machine, you likely don’t have anything to worry about at this point. If, like me, you use a USB camera and move it from machine to machine, you’ll want to go to the manufacturer’s site and download the latest drivers.

Next, you will need to install a tiny bit of software from Google on your machine. Start by going to http://mail.google.com/videochat and clicking on the button labeled “Install voice and video chat”. From the looks of it, this is for Windows XP and later users. Keep an eye on the site and keep listening to the Gmail Podcast for updates.

The installer takes only a few seconds, however it does require that you restart your browser. Once restarted, you will be brought to your Gmail settings with the Chat configuration settings listed. In the listing, you will find a new section labeled “Voice and video chat”. Make sure things are working right by clicking on the link “Verify your settings”. If everything is working, you should see your camera image in the window. If not, try troubleshooting your settings with the link of the same name. As a friendly tip, mine was not working right at first. I simply checked to make sure the camera was selected, changed the microphone to the camera, and hit save settings. When I went back to the chat settings and verified, everything was working fine.

Now when you sign in to Gmail chat, you will see a camera icon next to your name and be able to do a video chat with others. If you start a text chat, you can use the link “Video and more” to start a video session. It’s simple and fun.

Here’s today’s quick tip: If you find yourself answering the same questions or fending off the same vendors many times, then the Canned Auto Repsonses feature in the Gmail Labs may be for you. You can enable this by going in to the Gmail Labs under Settings or clicking on the little green bottle next to the Settings link in the upper right corner. Once enabled, a new link labeled “Canned autoresponses” will appear just below the To field. Initially there aren’t any responses so when you click on the link the only option will be “New canned response”. Type in your message, for example “Sorry, I’m extremely busy right now. In fact, I only have time for this canned autoresponse. I will respond with a more meaningful message when the stack of things to work gets back to a reasonable chaos. Stay tuned…” then click “New autoresponse”. Answer the prompt to give your canned response a name – like “Extremely busy” and click “OK”. The next time you need to tell someone you are busy click “Canned autoresponse” and select “extremely busy” to have the text automatically typed in.

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4 Comments

  • SONALI says:

    Have downloaded the Voice and video chat of Google. Restarted the browsers. However in the settings option of Chat. in the voice and video chat Verify settings does not appear. WHy is ths? what could be the problem?

  • Chuck Tomasi says:

    Just to confirm that you are on this screen and don’t see that section labeled “Verify your settings?” Please include any information about your operation system, browser (and version), or anything else that may be of relevance. Thank you

  • SONALI says:

    OPERATING SYSTEM WINDOWS XP
    BROWSER ie 7.0

  • Raghavan says:

    Have downloaded the Voice and video chat of Google. Restarted the browsers. However in the settings option of Chat. in the voice and video chat Verify settings does not appear. WHy is ths? what could be the problem? me to facing the same problem OS is vista and ie is 7 ? can somebody help