Monday, January 26, 2009

Watch YouTube videos right inside Gmail chat

Last week we launched another new feature we've been working on, media previews in Gmail chat. It's pretty cool. Frequently my friends will set YouTube links as their status messages, but from just a bare link, it's hard to tell whether or not the video is worth watching. However, with Gmail media previews, I can mouseover their name in my contact list to see the video title, and with a single click, I can play it right within Gmail.

It's also great for when friends send you a video link in chat. We parse the link and insert a thumbnail with the video title so you know exactly what your friend is trying to share with you (a rickroll, maybe?) Just click on the thumbnail and you can then watch the video right inside Gmail, without opening a new browser window or tab.

It's a fun feature, and makes sharing videos much more interesting. Check it out!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gmail voice and video v1.0.5

Today we released the 1.0.5 update for the Gmail voice and video chat software. All current installations will begin an automatic update within the next 24 hours. If you do not want to wait, you can visit and re-run the installer.

You can use your Gmail account to find out what version is currently installed. Simply go to the Gmail Settings page and look under the "Chat" tab. You will see the plugin version under the "Learn more" link, in small type.

Here's what's new in version 1.0.5:

  • On Windows, enabled sending and receiving video for CPUs without the SSE2 extensions (such as Athlon XP and Pentium III). Due to the lower processing power of these CPUs, the resolution of the sent video will be reduced. 
  • On Mac, added support for the macam USB camera driver library, enabling hundreds of branded and generic webcams for mac users.  Some work better than others; depending on the camera, you may experience low performance or errors when using macam. For best results, we recommend having only a single macam device attached, and closing Gmail before plugging or unplugging macam devices.
  • On Mac, changed automatic updates to no longer prompt the user to shut down the browser.
  • Fixed several issues on both platforms where the plugin could crash during or while ending a call.
  • Fixed an issue on certain Sony Vaio notebooks where the web browser would crash during call setup.
  • Fixed an issue on Mac where the plugin would crash during call setup if the installed version of QuickTime was very old.
  • Fixed an issue on Mac where old instances of the plugin would still appear in the Activity Monitor.

The fixes in this version should resolve the vast majority of the "my webcam doesn't work with Gmail voice and video" issues. If you're on 1.0.5 and still having a problem, please report it on the Gmail voice and video chat forums. As always, feel free to email me directly as well.