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How Google Talk Works

Google Talk Gadget
With Google Talk, users can cut and paste videos from popular sites like YouTube.
With Google Talk, users can cut and paste videos from popular sites like YouTube.
© Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

You can access Google Talk and do instant messaging from a Mac or any other computer with Internet access -- even your BlackBerry -- with Web-based Google Talk Gadget. While this application offers many of the features of Google Talk messaging, it has some fun features of its own. Because there's no download, you can start chatting immediately after you register for a Google account or embed the gadget in your personal Google page or Web site.

With Google Talk Gadget, you can use your friends list and IM with your Google Talk and Gmail contacts, as you can with Google Talk Client. You also can receive offline messages and save a chat history if you also have Gmail. Unlike the downloadable version, you also can:

  • Invite several people to chat with you in a group.
  • Cut and paste video and slideshow URLs from YouTube, Google Video, Picasa Web Albums and Flickr into your chats and view them in your chat window.
  • Add Google Talk to your personalized iGoogle home page.
  • Embed the Google Talk Gadget into your own Web page or blog to enable chatback.
  • Chat in any of 22 languages or dialects.

However, while Google is enhancing Google Talk Gadget, it currently doesn't offer these features of Google Talk Client:

  • File transfer
  • Voice mail
  • Voice calls (unless you run Google Talk Client at the same time)
  • Sending of offline messages
  • Notifications for new chats, friends coming online or new G-mail messages

To get started with Google Talk Gadget, you need to first register as a Google user with a user name and password. Once you have that, you can add the Google Talk Gadget to your iGoogle home page or to your Web site or blog.

Note that you'll need the latest free version of Flash installed in your browser and, if you're using a Mac, you need to use the Firefox browser instead of Safari. To download Flash for Mac, go to Adobe. To download Firefox for Mac, go to Mozilla Firefox.

To add the Google Talk Gadget to your Web site, you need to paste a line of code into your site's HTML. For instructions and the code, go to Google Support.

Google Talk for BlackBerry lets you add IM features to your mobile phone. You can e-mail and play games while you chat.

There's more to Google Talk Gadget, and new features are constantly being added. For more about other features or for help, check the Google Talk Gadget section of Google's Help Center.

Google Talk has plenty to offer, but it's not without some problems. Keep reading to learn about them and some possible solutions.