Tag Archives: im+

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.

My Favorite iPhone Apps

David, one of my favorite co-workers who (to oversimplify) sees/cares about things the way I do, has finally made the switch from his Treo to an iPhone. As such, I owe him a list of my favorite iPhone Apps, so I figured I’d share them with everyone at the same time… Enjoy!

  • IM+. Pro: You can sign onto all your different Instant Messaging platforms like Google Chat and AIM. Con: It signs you out as soon as you click on something else.
  • Pandora. Pro: I have the 8gb iPhone, so space is a factor for me, but with Pandora, I can listen to my favorite music and spice things up a bit. Con: It’s kind of ironic to listen to the radio on an iPhone, isn’t it?
  • Sportacular. Pro: Allows you to get updated scores for a variety of sports. You can even set it up to see all your favorite teams in one view. Con: Means that I know right away when my Red Sox and Pats aren’t doing so well. Ignorance is bliss sometimes, my friends.
  • Shazam. Pro: Hear a song on the radio, at the gym, during a night out, etc, and don’t know what it is? Shazam will tell you the title/artist and save it for you to view/listen to later. Con: Sometimes it does get stumped. (For example, it didn’t recognize Christina Arguilera’s “Keeps Getting Better”)
  • Flashlight. Pro: I use this to help me find my bed once I’ve turned out the lights. Con: At some point your iPhone battery will die, and you’ll be without a flashlight.
  • Jott. Pro: Perfect for taking down your to-do list when you don’t have a pen/paper handy and don’t feel like typing anything into your phone. Con: I think the interface isn’t very user-friendly.
  • Word Warp. Pro: Finally a game that keeps me challenged! Con: It is web-based, so when you don’t have a signal, you can’t play.
  • Twitterfon. Pro: Allows me to update my twitter status from my phone and shows my friends’ statuses. Con: I’m not convinced that it provides any additional functionality that twitter.com is lacking.
  • Stanza. Pro: Let’s you read books on your phone. Con: I haven’t used it once, so, what does that say about its relevance?

A great feature of the phone is that you can save bookmarks to the home screens. At times, I’ve found that these bookmarked websites work just as well as, if not better than, the corresponding applications. They are:

  • Google Reader. Keeps my RSS subscriptions at my fingertips. What could be better?
  • Facebook. Pretty self-explanatory. Seriously, I didn’t find any need to use the app (although I tried it).
  • Toodledo. Lets me update my to-do list on the go. (The only thing I’m struggling is the duplication/overlap of features with Jott. I haven’t decided which one to keep and which one to remove.)
  • Umbrella Today. One touch lets me know whether to pack an umbrella in my work bag. This one is pure genius.
  • Craiglist. Let’s me search for everything I could ever need. Has helped tremendously as I’ve been looking for furniture with which to furnish my apartment.

Have you found iPhone apps you couldn’t live without? I’d be interested in hearing what apps I’ve overlooked!