How to use Google Talk

How to use Google Talk

Even though it’s an old app, Google Talk continues to be a really popular app. It’s no wonder – it’s reliable, easy to use and much simpler than some of the more flashy IMs out there. If you’re just getting started with the app, or you have a few doubts, we’ve answered the top questions about Google Talk below. Take a look…

How to sign up

This couldn’t be easier. You need a Google Account, which you can get here. If you have an email address that ends with, or you’ve got a personalized Google domain, then you don’t need to do anything – your login details are also your Google Talk login information.

Then, download and install the Google Talk desktop client. The installation process is very easy, and when you see the login screen appear, just enter the login details mentioned above. That’s it! As soon as you see the main interface appear, you’re free to start chatting!

How to add contacts

The most basic aspect of having Google Talk is having somebody to chat to! A certain number of contacts will be imported from your Gmail account, if you have one. If you haven’t used chat before, these are likely to be the people you communicate with most often. If you want to add new contacts, it couldn’t be easier. At the bottom left of the interface, there’s a little button marked Add. Click that and enter the email addresses of the people you want to talk to – just remember that they must be addresses. You’ll also be given the option of checking your Gmail contacts to find new chat buddies. Google Talk will mail the person you’ve added, and once they’ve approved, you’re good to chat!

How to go mobile

If you’d also like to use Google Talk on your mobile device, you won’t have a problem. There are versions of the chat app available for lots of mobile operating systems, including Android (on Android, Google Talk normally comes pre-installed), iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Mobile, and using them is just as simple as on the desktop. Simply install and login using exactly the same login details as on the desktop. Just remember that Google Talk for mobile uses data, so be careful if you’re not on WIFI or a fixed data plan!

How to block contacts

Ok, so it’s not the nicest thing to think about, but sometimes you’ll need to block people on Google Talk. Blocking a person will mean that you never see them online, and they will never see you online – in other words, you disappear from their contact list, and vice versa. To do this, hover over the contact’s picture, and wait until the secondary menu appears. Click on the little triangle and pick block. After confirming, the person will disappear. If you ever want to unblock a person, click Settings > Blocked. Then click on the contact’s name and the Unblock button will become accessible.

How to make video calls

Unfortunately, you can’t make video calls in the desktop version of Google Talk, but don’t despair. As long as you have a webcam and a browser, and you download Google Voice and Video, you can make video calls inside your Gmail account. It’s only a small download, and you’ll be making video calls before you know it.

It might seem strange that Google Talk limits itself in the area of video calls, but as I mentioned in my review, it really doesn’t seem to be Google’s top priority at the moment. It’s a functional app, and many users are happy to use it, but it seems clear that Google is trying to push users towards using the app within Gmail or Google +, if at all. This is a pity, but for every IM app that isn’t performing to it’s maximum potential, there are dozens to take its place.

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