Google Apps

Google Chat now an integral part of Google+

Google Chat is now an integrated part of the Google+ feature set, allowing you to converse with members of your circles.

If you have logged into Google+ in the past day or so, you may have seen a bubble notification that you can now enable Google Chat on your Google+ page. If you ignored it or closed it without paying much attention, like I did, you can still enable it by clicking the button in the left navigation bar.

When you do, the Google+ members in your circle, assuming they have turned on the Chat function also, will be available for a chat conversation.

For some this is a good thing - chatting for many is a preferred form of communication. For some, like me, it is the worst way to communicate. The only reason it is on now is so I could show you what it looks like.

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

6 comments
jadkaizen
jadkaizen

Hi Mark, As the poll seems to indicate, I am one of the sheople that think chat is an effective communication tool. In reality, I know that chat is no more or no less an effective communication tool than most most other types of modern communication tools. I believe that the effectiveness of the communication should not depend the tool but on the sender's ability to effectively communicate intended messages with the appropriate audience. It reminds me of an episode on Jay Leno where he pitted the "world champion texter" against two guys that had been communicating using Morse Code for more than 30 years in an unscientific experiment to determine which form of communication was "faster" or more effective. Who do you won? Check out the Youtube video to find out: http://youtu.be/Mfyf5Y5AHNc Anyway, chat is just another tool to be used to communicate and, in today's world, it seems to be one of the preferred methods for a myriad of reasons. Personally, I prefer chat over other tools in certain situations. For example, if I'm at a location where there are other people around that I wouldn't want to hear my conversation but, I really need to get a message to someone, I might use chat instead of calling the person directly. Other times, I simply just don't "feel" like talking to someone on the phone. And of course chat is considered more instantaneous than email which is another advantage. I'm sure the reasons for using chat are as varied as the people that choose to use it in favor of other communication tools. But I'm curious Mark, why do you think that chat "is the worst way to communicate"? That's pretty harsh don't you think? Are you saying that you feel chat is a less desirable form of communication than something like say.....smoke signals? ;-)

JamesRL
JamesRL

We use an internal chat system (Office Communicator) all the time at our business, its hard to imagine life without it.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you find chat an effective communication tool? If the answer is yes, tell us why?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I have no doubt that many people use chat effectively in communication, but I personally find it distracting. It may be the editor in me, but I cannot willingly type mistakes and let them go out in a message, which means I am constantly editing my chat stream. I feel the person on the other end waiting for my reply and feel the pressure as I edit for the nth time the way I want to phrase a sentence. Most people are content to just hit the send button, poorly formed phrases and typos be darned, I'd much rather get a question in an email where I can respond thoughtfully. It's a personal thing to be sure. I am just curious if I am alone in this regard.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I like the way 1-1 tech support chat works. Everything is in writing, and if the support tech has a good set of templates to use, it can be very very fast. And from the user end, it's reassuring to see the "Mark is typing a response" message... The thing is, if "Mark" was handling this over the phone, a lot of time would be wasted on "can you repeat that?" on both sides... but if it was handled via email, "Mark" would probably be operating at sub-optimal efficiency, since he'll be handling several tickets at the same time, having to check and wait periodically, to see if there has been a response. Chat is efficient for this purpose, it has the immediacy of a phone call, but the permanence of email (since the chat client obviously has options to automatically email the user a transcript, right?). What's not to like?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I can see the benefits in that situation certainly. Phone based tech support is a terribly inefficient thing on both sides of the conversation.