While you can simply sign out of chat if you do not feel like chatting with your friends, Gmail and iGoogle also offer the ability to turn off chat entirely.
Here's how to turn off chat in Gmail:
- Click the gear icon and choose Settings.
- Click the Chat tab.
- Choose "Chat off."
- Click Save changes.
You will be signed out of chat, and your Chat list will be minimized. To turn chat back on, just click Chat on.
Here's how to remove chat from your iGoogle page:
- Visit the iGoogle Preferences page at http://www.google.com/ig/settings
- In the top section of the 'General' tab, click Hide chat.
- Click Save to save your settings.
To re-enable chat, click Enable chat in the left navigation.