Tuesday, February 07, 2006
When we launched Google Talk, some people told us what a great idea it'd be to add chat to Gmail. True that. So a couple of us Google Talk engineers approached the Gmail team. They were excited about the idea, and we got to work immediately -- spending a lot of not-so-lazy Sundays huddled in a conference room.
At the start, I thought a lot about all the things that bother me about chats. My own chats contained a lot of important information that was always getting lost. I found myself cutting, pasting and emailing important chats to myself so I could find them later. Another thing that bothered me is that whenever I wanted to get in touch with someone, I had to pick a specific application. For email, I'd have to sign into Gmail. For IM, I had to choose between the two or three programs I used regularly.
It seems these things didn't bother only me, but a lot of other people too. Which is why, within a few weeks, when you log into Gmail you'll find a list of your most important contacts on the left-hand side of the window, and you can chat right away with those who are online. You can also save, search for, and view your chat histories just like your Gmail messages.
In line with our belief that communication networks should be open, my fellow geeks will be happy to know that Gmail is now just another XMPP client that connects to the Google Talk network. So Gmail users will be able to chat with any of the millions of users on the Google Talk and Jabber networks.
Now that it's launching, we're going to quit working Sundays. Maybe even throw back a few Mr. Pibbs and celebrate with Red Vines.