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Answers to Common Questions About Gchat

Below, I’ve done my best to answer some common questions about Gchat, Google’s free-of-charge Windows web-based application for instant messaging and voice over internet protocol (VOIP).

Scroll down to see all the answers or click on a specific question:

How are contacts added to Gchat?

Contacts are automatically added based on the number of times e-mail messages are exchanged. Contacts must be using Gmail as their e-mail provider.

Is there a way to receive an alert when a contact signs on to Gchat or becomes “available”?

Unfortunately, there currently is no way to receive an alert when a contact signs on to Gchat or becomes available.

Can my employer (my boss or my company) read my Gchats?

The short answer here is ‘maybe’. It depends on what/how your company is monitoring your computer use. One way to make it a bit harder for someone to track your Gchat conversation is to sign onto Gmail securely which will encrypt any data within (include Gchat). Here’s how to change the setting to make sure you are always signing in securely: Sign in to Gmail. Click Settings at the top of any Gmail page. Set ‘Browser Connection’ to ‘Always use https.’ Click Save Changes. (Note that “Always use https’ is now the default setting in Gmail but it is good to double check this.)

Changing the HTTPS setting in Gmail

However, companies can monitor every keystroke made and even take screenshots of what you are doing on your computer, so it’s best to be careful about how you use your computer at work!

Can I be invisible to some people on Gchat and available to others?

No. The status that you set – Available, Busy or Invisible – will be shown to all your contacts. Currently, there is no way to have different statuses for different contacts. If there are a few people that you’d to not be able to know when you are online, the best alternative is to block them.

Can you recommend an app for signing onto Gchat from an iPhone?

I think Fring and IM+ both work well for this, but I personally use Meebo. All three do the same. (I’ve just had a Meebo account for a few years so I liked that I could easily extend it onto my iPhone.

I have other questions about Gchat that you haven’t answered. Where can I learn more?

Simply leave your question in the form of a comment below and I will do my best to help you.