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Chrome OS "panels" and Google Talk Chrome Web app go cross-platform

google talk web app for chrome
Back when we had the chance to play with some more mature builds of Chromium OS, one feature we particularly liked was its slick, panelized Google Talk funcationality. It later disappeared, replaced by a Gtalk app in the Chrome Web Store -- but while Google talks about 'the same platform everywhere,' the Gtalk Web app only worked on Chrome and Chromium OS.

What about all us Windows, Mac, and Linux users? Well, now we can get in on the action, too, even though the Chrome Web Store loudly proclaims ** THIS APP REQUIRES A CHROME NOTEBOOK **!
While that's not totally true anymore, you do need panel functionality, which your version of Chrome probably doesn't offer yet. However, if you have a recent Chromium build you can add the command line switch --enable-panels to enable basic panel functionality. There's no about:flags entry for this yet, so you'll have to use the switch for now. If you need help, just check our tutorial on how to add command line switches to Chrome.

Next, you'll need the Adobe Flash Player plug-in. Yes, the Google Talk Web app requires the Adobe Flash Player plug-in. If you're using Google Chrome, of course, you've probably already got internal Flash support already.

Now head over to the Web Store and install the Google Talk app. When launched, a new window will appear, though it oddly doesn't stack with your main Chrome icon in Windows 7 (the way they do when you ctrl + n). Our guess is this is due to panels only having just moved beyond Chrome OS. In time, expect the panel to open inside the confines of your current Chrome window -- as it would on Chrome OS.

Is there a reason to install the official Google Talk Web App over, say, one of the apps which merely externalizes the iGoogle Talk gadget? Probably not. Group chat and audio alerts work and you've got the full smorgasbord of emoticons to choose from. The voice and video plug-in doesn't work at the moment, calling is disabled, and you can't select text to copy and paste.

Once panels are fully supported in the Windows, Mac, and Linux builds of Google Chrome, apps like Google Talk will make the Web browser feel even more like Chrome OS.

Google Talk app for Google Chrome

Tags: apps, browser, browsers, chat, chrome, chrome web store, ChromeWebStore, chromium, google, google chrome, google talk, GoogleChrome, GoogleTalk, panels, talk, ui, web, web app, WebApp