How do I use Google Chat?

2014-10-14 21:31

Your Carthage Google Apps account offers built-in chat so you can easily switch between emailing and instant messaging with your contacts.

Your Status in Google Chat

Google Apps Chat is available on the left side of your email screen, below your folders. A list of your “buddies” is shown below your name. The colored dots (or TV cameras, if they have video chat installed) indicate the status of yourself and other people.

  • Green indicates a contact is available.
  • Red indicates a contact is busy or away.
  • Orange indicates a contact hasn’t used email or chat in over ten minutes, is “idle,” and may have stepped away from their computer.
  • Grey indicates one of two things – either the contact isn’t signed into Google email (either Gmail or Google Apps,) or they want to look like they aren’t signed in and have chosen to be “invisible.”

To change your status, use the pull down arrow below your name to select one of several options. You can select from one of the last few custom status messages you have used, or you can select “Custom Message” and type a custom message in the box next to the arrow.

To Chat with Someone

To start a chat with someone already in your list, click your contact's name. A chat window should open.

If someone is not on your list, you can search for them by typing a part of their name. Once you’ve found their name, scroll over their name and select “Invite to Chat” from the options on the right. You will be prompted to send either a standard invitation or you can type a custom invitation in the text field. Then, click “Finish” to send the invitation. The person you invited will see a message in the Chat area of their screen that they will need to confirm to allow you to Chat with them.

Multiple Chat Windows

Google Chat allows you to be a part of several chats at the same time. The chat windows are shown across the bottom of your email screen.

You can minimize the windows by selecting the underline option in the upper right hand corner of each chat window. You can also put a chat window in its own browser window by selecting the “pop out” arrow in the upper right hand corner of each chat window.

Group Chat

You can chat with several people at one time. To start a group chat, you need to begin with a chat to a single contact. Once you are chatting with one person, click on the (IMAGE) link underneath the friend’s name in the chat window.

You can enter participant’s emails to invite them to the group chat.

There is no limit (that I know of) to the number of participants in a group chat, and any participant can invite others to join as well.

To end the chat, just select the “X” at the top right of the chat window. After you leave, the other participants can continue the chat until all participants have left. Once you leave, the only way to rejoin the group chat is for one of remaining participants to invite you back.

Chat History

All of the contents of all of you chats are saved in your email account. Your chat histories are just like email messages – you can view them, forward them, print them or search for them.

You can also “Go off the record” and not save your chat history. In an active Chat window, click on the "More" button and choose "Go off the record." If the other members of your chat are also using Google Chat inside Gmail or Google Apps, then they will not be able to save the chat in their chat history. There are ways to save chat history even with Go off the record enabled; it is not a guarantee that the chat will be private.

Using the AOL network and your AIM buddy list

Once you sign into your Gmail account you can add AIM contacts just like you would a Gmail contact. Your AIM buddies will populate your Contacts list. To invite them to chat type their screen name into your Chat search field and click "Invite to chat." Once your contact accepts your invitation you'll be able to start chatting.

Voice and Video Chat

You can install a plug-in for voice and video chat. See the following Albert article for more information: How do i configure Google Apps for voice and video chat?


Revised 10/14/09 by Michael Love

Updated 10/14/14

Tags: email, Google
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