Never let it be said that Google is resting on its laurels when it comes to any of their products. While there have been some releases over the last couple of days that might draw more attention, their upgrade to the Gmail chat function is just as important to some.
While inventions like Google Wallet, that have drawn both rave and lawsuit ready reviews and a revamped search page on the iOS browsers are always going to get a little more pub, the revamping of the chat function in Gmail will be something that a very select group of users will find the most useful.
With the new “people widget” that is being rolled out by Google, you will still be able to chat with your friends either using the chat device or through email like normal. Now when you choose to pull up the person that you are talking to their information that you might otherwise have known will pop up as well. This new feature will also tell you what kind of different features are available to talk to the contacts in your list, whether its through normal chat or video or voice chat.
Of course the people widget also helps you keep the communications with other people better organized as it will show at a glance the number of emails someone has sent or received in a previous time period. You will also be able to view and share the Google calendar with any of your contacts with a few quick clicks. You can also easily set up online meetings and conferences and not only can you publish that the meetings or even fun activities like game nights are going on but you will be able to see how everyone has responded to those invitations or meetings. You will be able to easily organize exactly who is coming or why they can’t simply by clicking into the meeting that one particular person has set up.
The Google blog technically says they will be rolling out these updates on a piecemeal basis over the next few weeks, but by the end of the month it should be fully functional.