In November 2008, Google added video chat to Gmail, allowing you to video chat with other Gmail users after downloading a small plugin. Now Google is extending its video ambitions, launching video chat for the iGoogle homepage.
What???s the advantage of having video chat on your personalized homepage? The main benefit is that you can now speak to friends who don???t use Gmail (although they still require a generic Google account). You???ll also need to download a plugin to make it work.
Ultimately Google wants to ensnare more of a user???s online time and attention, both of which are increasingly being diverted away from email (eg. Gmail) and towards social networking sites. Google has had little success in the social space so far, however, and these incremental changes are unlikely to turn the tables.
A much bigger sea change (no pun intended) will occur with the upcoming launch of Google Wave, as Google makes its play for realtime communication on the web.
v??a Mashable! de Pete Cashmore el 22/08/09