Another Plus: Google+ Adds Chat with Circles
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
November 22 2011 05:37 PM ET
Google today (Nov. 22) added chat to the fast-growing list of features on Google+. Now individuals who are in one another’s circles can instantly chat with each other. A list of people available to chat now appears in the left-hand navigation bar. With this addition, Google+ has become even more similar to social network giant Facebook.
Before today’s update, users could only chat with someone if they knew their friends’ email addresses. Now they just need to have each other in circles — individuals grouped by some commonality such as family or business associates. The chat feature extends beyond Google+ and includes Gmail , iGoogle, Orkut, and the Google Talk Client, so that chat lists will appear across Google apps. Once a chat window has been opened, it will remain open even if a user leaves Google+.
Google has added a number of options for chatting. Users may chat “off the record” by clicking the “Options” link in the bottom of the chat window and then select “Go off the record.” A message will appear confirming that chats with this particular contact won't be saved, unless one of the chatterers changes the setting.
By default, every Google+ circle has been enabled for chatting, but users may disable any of their circles. To disable a circle, click on the down arrow next to the chat heading, click “Privacy Settings” and then select “Custom” to disable individual circles.
Tip: If you want to confine your chatting to a few close friends, create a circle with only those individuals you want to be able to chat with and disable chatting on your other circles.