Google is planning to integrate its e-mail service with an IM service, which will allow users to chat and send e-mails from the same web browser window. Known as Gmail Chat, the new service will help Google catch up with others (AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft) in the IM world, where the company is currently lagging behind. The ability to use IM without a separate program is a definite bonus, and one that Google hopes will attract users to its IM system. Visible to existing subscribers from within Google's Gmail browser window, Gmail Chat will allow users to chat with contacts using services compatible with Google's messaging facilities, such as US-based Earthlink, chat client Jabber.org and e-mail providers in the Philippines, China and Italy.
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