An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

Send your tips to

November 21, 2008

Google Chat in iGoogle and orkut

Google started to integrate a Gmail Chat widget in iGoogle's much-hated navigation sidebar. The page will load even slower and people will have one more reason to complain. If you don't like the chat box, Google recommends to sign out of chat, although you could also change your status to "invisible".

Another thing you'll notice in all versions of iGoogle is the integration of Google Suggest in the search box. As usually, this can be disabled in the preferences page by selecting "Do not provide query suggestions in the search box".

Preparing to become a full-fledged social site, iGoogle added a contact manager to the settings page so you can separate your contacts and view their profiles.

If these new features aren't yet enabled in your account, visit to add them. For those who hate everything about the new iGoogle, from the unfinished Gmail gadget to the big sidebar and the annoying bug that displays the canvas view of the most recently opened gadget when you open iGoogle, there's an address that shows the old version of iGoogle:

orkut, the other social network owned by Google, continues to add last season's Facebook features, now cleverly integrating Gmail Chat. "To get you started, we've come up with a formula that automatically predicts which of your orkut friends you probably want to chat with, and only tells those people that you're signed into Google Talk. Our formula takes a bunch of things into consideration, giving preference to people who you've labeled as 'best friends' or written scraps to recently, and people who have friends in common with you."

In addition to showing Google Talk contacts, orkut will also add some friends you are likely to chat with. Like iGoogle's sidebar chat, orkut's chat boxes are persistent so you can visit different orkut pages while continuing to chat.

The new orkut feature will be rolled out in the next weeks to orkut's huge userbase, so it's likely that you won't see it right away.

{ Thanks, Edam. }


  1. Odd, the iGoogle bug when I click on something like Home -> Stock Market or Home -> Movies is still in... that is, nothing happens.

  2. I'm not seeing chat in my igoogle

  3. > As usually, this can be disabled in
    > the preferences page by selecting "Do
    > not provide query suggestions in the
    > search box".

    ... and disabled all over again whenever you're losing the cookie (as it's not connected to your account setting, unfortunately).

  4. If you don't see the chat box in iGoogle, go to this page:

  5. And here's a page created for all those who hate the new iGoogle:

    "Recently we rolled out some new iGoogle features, including full-screen gadgets and a left-side navigation bar. We've gotten a lot of feedback since then, not all of it positive, and we've been listening. (...) Up until now, iGoogle has been focused on quick, at-a-glance access to the information you care about, and smaller gadgets fit that philosophy. But we recognize that sometimes quick updates aren't all you're looking for, so we've created a feature that lets you expand all your gadgets to full screen, or "canvas view," and thus experience much more, and much richer, content. (...)

    All this new gadget functionality made it important to look more closely at how we help you find and use content on iGoogle. Based on your feedback, it's clear that the new left-hand navigation bar is the most controversial change we've made. (...)

    We think this new format makes it much easier to find specific gadgets (especially as your number of collected gadgets grows) and quickly click them in and out of canvas view.

    But this new navigation also reflects our belief that, over time, the web in general and iGoogle in particular will become more personalized but also more social -- more focused on connecting us with our friends through shared online activities. (...)

    In short, we want iGoogle to grow right along with the web. The newest iteration of this evolution may seem jarring to some people today, but we believe that over time, a better-organized and more socially connected iGoogle homepage will be essential to helping us all make the most of all that the web has to offer."

  6. Thanks for the biased overview. Personally, I haven't seen that chat on iGoogle slows things down. It seems to populate the chat component after the page has already loaded. You can also minimize it to MOSTLY turn it off.

    As for Orkut not having a huge userbase, I think that's a bit misleading. Orkut has more web traffic than Orkut has more web traffic than the NY Times website. Orkut has more traffic than, another popular social networking site. Orkut has more traffic than,,, LinkedIn, MapQuest,, and many other heavily trafficked sites.

    Just because you or your friends are not on Orkut does not mean that there aren't plenty of users and social circles on Orkut. I wouldn't underestimate that.

    Aside from this, I am not too fond of these implementations of chat. As it is, I use the regular chat client. It is a bit frustrating at times that by simply visiting iGoogle or checking my Gmail that suddenly a chat will end up in the browser rather than the client installed on my machine. Then, I have to hunt around to find the browser the message is appearing on, the tab within the browser that it might appear on, and to hop around to different areas to carry on a conversation. I would like to see a more coherent system than the one which exists now.

  7. Not having the ability to turn off chat in iGoogle may also be problematic for people who have chat and email blocked at work by a proxy.

  8. One problem I have with the new iGoogle version is that even though I have signed out of all chat clients, when iGoogle first loads is shows me online for a few seconds.

    Whether this quick offline-online-offline transition shows up to my "friends" online don't know. If so, it is an unwarranted invasion of privacy as I don't want someone calling me one day and saying "I know you were online the other night when called because I could see you popping in and out of Gtalk" etc.

    The new sidebar format definitly DID slow things down for me. So much so that even though I am a Google fan I started looking for alternatives. I have hopes they resolve these issues soon or my alternative may become habitual.

    Orkut is a disaster. Yes, they have more users in India and Brazil than the other players. But it is only a matter of time before users in those countries switch to Facebook or Myspace, in fact it is already happening. When you join a "community" in Orkut that has thousands of members and the last message in the forum is a week old, and the one before that is a month old you can get a feel for when this drop off started to occur. Orkut also stopped being quite so open with it's user base figures about a year ago.

    It's very hard to see where google is going with all of this. It looks to me like a scatter shot approach: doing "social" several different ways and hoping that one of them hits the mark. If it were otherwise, why would I need to maintain one profile for Blogger, another one for Photos and Reader when I already have a perfectly good Orkut profile?

  9. "orkut, the other social network owned by Google"
    Great line!

  10. Am I the only one who thinks Chat in iGoogle is awesome? This was what I wanted iGoogle to be from day one.

  11. Y'see, while i like the fact that the chat is now in iGoogle, it still doesn't fix the major problem with that: it is still static pages!

    If they actually went ahead and done that web2.0 magicks on each page for those with browsers that can handle it, it would be so much better.

    Just imagine, mid-chat, boom, page refresh.

    And if they were to implement this, they could create some sort of * (all) special tab too, things that you'd rather not have refreshed. (such as chats, chatrooms, etc)

    These are pretty much the only things that are holding iGoogle back IMO.

    Please, anyone from Google reading this, make the pages dynamic, you have done it before, and Gmail is infinitely better (especially with the new themes)

  12. The disastrous design of the new iGoogle (which I had been using with satisfaction for a long time) drove me over to for my latest project. It works like a charm, is clean and intuitive, and has everything the old iGoogle had and more. Give it a try.

  13. I don't have time to wait for Netvibes to load.

  14. Google is in denial. You can't force people to use something that they hate -- when they have other free alternatives. And people (myself included) definitely hate the new igoogle.

    Sooner or later, google will have to cave in and redesign the ridiculously slow "new" version of igoogle or revert back to the old igoogle. Everything is relative and netvibes is now a speed demon next to igoogle.

    Smarten up, google, and cave-in now.

  15. I like the new interface, and features. I think the integration has been due for sometime. Those of you who have very strong opinions against the changes, well those are your opinions, and you are entitled to them... but you're wrong, I am right. ;)

  16. I like the changes to iGoogle, but if I were to judge based on tech blogs I'd think I'm the only one.
    Judging IRL, though, I will confidently state that I am not.

  17. I hate chat on orkut. if gtalk or gmail are open then also chat message comes in orkut also. this is very annoying....

  18. My iGoogle page has been slow since the addition of the left hand sidebar and Google Chat.

    Even though I don't log into chat, don't even use it, I am forced to let something startup every time I start IE.

    If I type a search and hit return before the page is fully loaded I have to type it again.

    Annoying things tend to get ignored. I'll be turning off my iGoogle page until they get this crap cleaned up.

  19. I don't care either way. To be honest the most irritating and annoying aspect of this integration is the countless bloody reminder scraps that keep appearing on the bottom right of my Orkut screen constantly reminding me - quite aptly, in a Google Chat window - that this new Google Chat option is now part of Orkut.

    CUT IT OUT! You've told me approximately 100 times, and I've closed that chat window about the same number of times, so I know already!

    What do I have to do to stop it?

  20. the chat icon is not showing in my orkut account.. pls help! and the new chat i ve uploaded from applications is not working either.. this factor is quite irritating

  21. why am i not able to open orkut?
    when i do so, i get a dialog box showing the following text. uses an invalid security certificate.

    The certificate expired on 6/4/2009 10:21 PM.

    (Error code: sec_error_expired_certificate)

    kindly help pls.
    my mail id is (or)

  22. I hate the changes made to iGoogle, esp. the latest chat addition. i don't chat. I miss the wasted real estate on the left margin.

  23. I want to turn off the new integrated google chat as I already have it in a gadget window that lets me see all my contacts and doesnt create redundant chats w my gchat client when at work. This new integrated version is annoyingly redundant. How do i disable it w/out logging out of gchat altogether?

  24. Thanks for the link to the old version of iGoogle. Exactly what I wanted.

  25. chat option is not coming in my account.

  26. wow it is a great new service i love Google.

  27. wish it actually WORKED.... it's not, right now, and hasn't for like a month....... it did though, and I liked it when it was there!

  28. it is really a great service wow.

  29. it is a great news thanks google.

  30. this is why i love google and orkut.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.