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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Google unites IM with E-mail


Google Inc. will unite its instant messaging and e-mail services in the same Web browser, the company announced late Monday.

Google users will be able to conduct instant message chats from a Google Web browser window, alongside their e-mails, instead of requiring a separate application.

Google, known for its simple and powerful Web searching, hopes that by embedding new instant messaging software it calls "Gmail Chat" into its existing e-mail service, it can differentiate itself in a crowded market it was late to join.

Gmail Chat requires no special software download. It is available to any registered user of Gmail e-mail. Existing contacts within the more advanced Google Talk program automatically show up in Google Chat, the company said.

The new feature will begin to show up in some Gmail accounts today and should reach all users within the next few weeks, said Salar Kamangar, a Google product manager.

"We didn't think it made sense for there to be this artificial separation that currently exists between e-mailing and chatting," he said. "People don't want to have to have two separate contact lists for e-mail and instant messaging."

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