On Tuesday, Google, the popular search engine heavy, is expected to announce plans to merge its instant messaging service with its Gmail e-mail offering, The New York Times reports.
The move represents Google most recent shift towards the general communications industry and its vast array of consumers.
Gmail Chat would enable Gmail users to send text messages without ever having to login to a separate chat program, allowing for easier and faster communication.
A Gmail Chat user could see any person who was available to talk, from anywhere in Gmail.
The real challenge for Google will be to draw users from the popular instant messaging services offered by companies like Microsoft, Yahoo and America Online, the bigshots in the IM space.
Google’s service will have the ability to send and receive messages from a small number of competitors, like Jabber and EarthLink, The Times reported; however, the service is not interoperable with its main competitors’ offerings.
Salar Kamangar, Google’s vice president for product management, told The Times that Gmail Chat would be available to a select few of Gmail users today and to the rest of the general public on Friday.
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