Check Email, Chat, Send Files, And More with Google Talk [groovyReview]

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A few months back we reviewed Gmail Notifier which is a nice companion for Gmail.  Recently however I’ve been using Google’s PC only app – Google Talk which does a lot of the same things as Gmail Notifier only a whole lot more including Chat/IM, File Transfers, Gmail Notification, Voice Chat etc. Let’s take a look at this Free (of course) app from Google.

How To Install And Setup Google Talk

1. Download Google Talk from the website.

Google Talk screenshot - Download Google Talk

2. Once the download finishes, Run the installer and Click through the installation.  It’s very simple.

Google Talk screenshot - Install Google Talk

3. Google Talk should automatically open up.  Type in your Google (same as Gmail) account credentials and Click Sign in.

Remember: Uncheck the Remember Password box if you are on a shared computer, otherwise your household can gain access to your Gmail and Google Talk.

Google Talk screenshot -sign in

4. The first thing I like to do after installing Google Talk is to change the Chat Theme to one that is easier to manage.  Click Settings and then go into the Appearance menu and Select Bubble Picture from the drop-down menu.

Google Talk screenshot -change them to bubble picture

That was easy, now Google Talk is installed and ready to go.  Let’s take a tour of some of it’s features.

Email Notifications

You’ll probably notice right away after installing Google Talk that notifications will start popping up above your system tray.  Similar to Gmail Notifier, Google Talk will alert you whenever you receive a new Gmail email message.  Since this is your first time running Google Talk it will pop-up with all of your Unread messages.  Don’t worry, it only notifies you about an email message once so this won’t get annoying.

Google Talk screenshot - instant email notifications

Voice Calls And Chat

Google Talk lets you make live voice calls with other people on Google Talk.  The call quality is nice, and you can even install the video plug-in and do video calls using a webcam.  I’m confident that once Google Voice comes out of Beta we’ll see some nice integration here.

Google Talk screenshot - make phone calls on the computer

Google works as an instant messenger client like Live Messenger or Yahoo, but you’ve probably already figured that out.  The nice thing about Google Talk is that if you want to say something without a worry of your friend’s client recording your conversation, you can choose to Go off the record. While you are on the record neither your Google Talk nor your friends will record anything that you are typing back and forth.  A groovy privacy feature indeed.

Google Talk screenshot - go off the record, protect your privacy

File and Picture Sharing

You can share instantly between you and your contacts on Google Voice.  Pictures will send through automatically, but other files will require you to Click Accept so you can control what comes your way. This is nothing new, but it is a convenient feature to have included.

Google Talk screenshot -share files and pictures


Leave Voicemails In Your Friends Email

If you don’t have time to chat or call, you can always just leave a voicemail for your friend to listen to later.  Click the Send voicemail button, wait for it to connect and beep, then record your message.  When you are finished Press End Call.

Google Talk screenshot - send voicemail

Your voicemail will show up in your friends email inbox with the title Voicemail from (you) and they can easily play it right then and there.  Just be careful what you say, because there is an option to download it as an MP3!

Google Talk screenshot - listen to voicemail from your gmail inbox


Custom Status And Inbox Notifications

We’ve seen this before in other messenger clients, but if you are logged in to Google Talk and don’t have time to chat, you can set your status to busy and apply a custom message.  The Google Talk window will also display the number of unread emails in your inbox and the number of un-listened to voicemails.

Google Talk screenshot -change status and view unread email


Google Talk creates a system tray that you can enable if you don’t like, but it’s handy if you want to let just let the program run in the background but still quickly be able to check your Gmail.

Google Talk screenshot -system tray icon

That covers Google Talk, have a groovy time chatting it up!



  1. Animis

    Absolutely LOVE Google Talk, I no longer need to write emails when I can just leave someone an email voicemail.

    • shockersh

      I’ll 2nd that. It’s nice however my guess is it will go the way of the dodo once Google comes out with a full end-to-end Google Voice Client with chat, video chat and voice. It’s gotta be just a matter of time.

  2. The DataRat

    Google shutdown Talk in February, 2015. They’re trying to save Google Hangouts, which replaces Google Talk.

    The DataRat

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