Good news for users of Debian-based Linux distributions out there. Google has finally updated their web based talk service to support voice and video chat on Linux.
Visit www.gmail.com/videochat to download the plugin and get started.
The plugin is only available for Debian-based distros and only in binary form. Getting it is straightforward, just download the .deb package and install it with your manager of choice.
Google says an RPM package for Red Hat-based distros is on its way, but you can probably use one of the many package converters out there in the meantime.
It took Google almost two years to develop and release the Linux capability; the company unveiled video chat for Windows and Macintosh in November 2008. Now Linux users can video chat directly from Gmail, iGoogle, and Orkut, according to Google.
Google Talk mobile also is available for an array of smartphones, including the Palm Pre, Blackberry, iPhone, and Android. Google continues to fine-tune its communications tools. In June, the company simplified its video chat feature by adding easy-to-find icons to initiate video, voice, or group chats.
The plugin is all the more important since Google has big plans for Voice and wants to launch a full-blown VoIP service with soft phone built into Gmail. The Linux version of the plugin may end up in the upcoming Google Chrome OS, which is based on the Linux kernel and some libraries, though Google may opt for a purely web-based approach.
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