How to use Gmail's chat feature

As with most online email services, Gmail provides you with instant messaging capabilities. Gmail Chat works inside your browser, while GoogleTalk is a program that you can install on your computer.

1) Both of these allow you to communicate with your Gmail friends, and both have their advantages. In this tutorial, we'll be showing you how to use Gmail Chat.

2) Here is the chat area of Gmail. It's visible on the left column of every page. As the two notes tell you, text chats are saved and searchable just like with email conversations, and you can even have a video chat with a friend.

3) Click each X to close the notes. In the Options menu, you can sign in and out of chat and choose who shows up in your chat list, among other things. Your name is first in the chat list. From here, you can change your status, set your availability, etc.

4) Click this arrow for more options.

5) Let's set our status to Busy.

6) We'll change that back to Available.

7) With this box, you can search through and find contacts to add or invite to chat.

8) When you start typing, entries from your Contacts list should appear. At right, you're given a number of actions that you can perform on that contact.

9) Click on a contact's name to switch the actions menu to that person.

10) Click anywhere in the background to cancel and close the contacts list. Let's chat with Demo User. Click on his name. A chat window will appear in the bottom right corner of the screen.

11) Click here, type a chat message, then press Enter to send.

12) Note that this person is currently offline. Messages you send to an offline contact will be delivered when he/she comes online.

13) When he logged in, the "currently offline" message disappeared, and his icon changed from grey to green. When you receive a response, the title bar of the chat area will be highlighted in orange, as will the user's name in your chat list.

14) Let's respond. You will be notified when the other person is typing a message.

15) Click the X to close the chat window. It will reappear if he responds again.

16) Go to the Settings area... then open the Chat tab.

17) There are a number of chat-related settings here. Most of these, you'll probably want to leave as the defaults.

18) One useful feature in Gmail is the ability to sign in to an AIM account. This allows you to use Gmail to chat with your buddies on AIM as well as your Gmail chat contacts.

19) Click Sign into AIM. You will need an AIM account in order to log in. If you don't have one, you can get a screen name via this link. Enter your login info, then click Sign in... or, click Cancel.

20) If you make any changes on this page, be sure to click Save Changes when you've finished.


This is the end of the tutorial. You now know how to use the Chat feature in Gmail.

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