Gmail's not just for email--you can also communicate with your friends in real time using chat in Gmail! Gmail is part of Google's chat network, which means that you can communicate with your friends using iGoogle, orkut, and Google Plus.
If you're already using Gmail, all you need to do to chat is sign in, invite your friends, and start a chat. If you'd like to try Gmail, it's easy to sign up!
Voice and video chat in Gmail
In addition to instant messaging, you can also chat face to face with up to nine people and call phones. Learn how to make voice and video chats.
Extra chat features
Send SMS Messages
You can also easily send messages to and from cell phones with chat in Gmail when your contacts aren't online. To add this feature, you'll need to enable it for your account in Gmail labs. Learn more
Using Gmail to chat with your friends also enables chat history
. Chat history allows you to store the text of your chats in your Gmail account so that you can easily search for them later. You can also respond to these chats like you would to regular Gmail messages.