When you develop as many different apps and websites as Google does, it’s important to keep things consistent. Recently, it looks like the Big G decided it was time to re-tool their instant messaging platform to accomplish exactly that. Google Talk now appears set to become Google Chat — or possibly Chat for Google.
The pane in Gmail has been labeled “chat” for quite some time, and just days ago the Google Chrome extension received an update and re-branding. It had previously been called the Google Talk Launcher, and it’s primarily been useful on Chrome OS up until recent versions. That had a lot to do with Chrome OS’ panels feature, which allows extensions and pages to dock to the bottom of the screen and float above other tabs.
On the Chrome Web Store now, the extension’s name has been changed to Chat for Google. The Google Talk landing page at www.google.com/talk, however, is currently titled Google Chat.
There’s also a new logo that’s more in keeping with Google’s refreshed Gmail, Docs, and Calendar icons. Interestingly, the name change has yet to make its way to the Google Chrome apps tab, where the extension is also still referred to as Google Talk Launcher.
Other changes to the extension include a button that whisks you away to Google+ Hangouts — clicking it will launch a new window that won’t be grouped with your existing Chrome windows on the Windows 7 taskbar. It acts like a page does when you create an application shortcut from Chrome’s Tools menu. File transfers are also working, and they’re passed through a relay at 220.127.116.11. That IP address unsurprisingly belongs to Google and serves up bits from deep in the heart of Mountain View.
The Chat for Google app can also run in the background, keeping you connected to your friends even after you shut down all your Google Chrome windows. To quit Chat completely on Windows, just right-click the Chrome system tray icon and choose exit.