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Google Adds Video and Voice Chat to Gmail

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Gmail and Google App subscribers now have access to voice chat and video chat in a new free Google Web-based service that competes with eBay's Skype. The feature is available to both PC and Apple users.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc (GOOG) added a voice and video chat feature to its Gmail email service on Tuesday, launching a free Web-based service that competes with the likes of eBay's Skype.

Gmail and Google App subscribers can now choose to speak with friends on a video screen and simultaneously instant message them in a Google Chat box.

The video screen can be popped out of the chat box and moved around a user's computer screen. Users can also change the size of the screen and expand it to full-screen size.

"The idea was to make it quicker and easier to communicate with other people by whatever means is best convenient," said Google spokesman Jason Freidenfelds.

"It's a nice alternative for businesses looking for another way for people to connect," he added.

The feature is available for both PC and Apple computer users.

A webcam and small web browser plug-in are required to use the video chat. Users who do not have a webcam will still be able to chat with friends by voice.

(Reporting by Jennifer Martinez; Editing by Brian Moss)

© Thomson Reuters 2008 All rights reserved

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
























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