Group Chat allows people to talk in groups, where everybody can view what others are saying, more like having a talk with a group of friends than having a one to one chat. Anybody can start a group chat by selecting the Group Chat option from the Option menu in lower left corner of any chat window and adding the persons who would be part of the group. Simple ... isn't it? So you have a personal chat room where you can chat with your buddies.
Anybody in the group can add new people to the group, there is no specific host who takes the responsibility of this. This also has the added advantage that when the original person has left the group, others can easily continue to chat till all the members have left the group.
Leaving the group is simple, just close that group chat window and you are logged out of that chat and everybody on the group will be informed of your departure. However, you can rejoin the group only if somebody still in the group invites you.
The web chat client also provides an enhanced set of smileys, which are accessible via the smiley link at the bottom right hand corner. The smileys are divided in 3 sets,
- Simple text smileys
- Colored said-by smileys
- Colored box smileys
You see those smileys based on the group that you select. So if somebody sends you a :), you could see either of the 3 types of smileys based on which group you have selected. The default is the Text type, but you can always change it.
Looking forward to seeing more interesting new features from Google. I always keep a lookout for the top right hand corner of the Gmail window for new features.
Lastly, for the power users like me, the entire emotions list is available as text shortcuts. So no need to use the mouse, when we have the almighty keyboard. Here is a complete list of the Gmail chat emotions.