November 28th, 2007 | Published in Gmail (Google Mail)
The new Gmail Seattle team is happy to announce two additions to Gmail's built-in chat capabilities: group chat and enhanced emoticons.
To start a group chat, click "Group chat" from the "Options" menu when chatting. Enter the names of the people you want to add, and, bingo, you're in your very own chat room. All the familiar features such as chat archiving and taking the chat off the record still work as well.
You'll also now notice a smiley face in the bottom right-hand corner of your chat window. You can still use regular emoticon keyboard shortcuts, such as :) or =P, but this menu lets you select the style of the emoticons you send. Beyond the good old classic Gmail smileys there are two brand new, rich emoticon styles.
These features only work with the latest version of Gmail, which we are still rolling out to IE6, international and Google Apps users. We're looking forward to using Gmail's new modular architecture to bring you more features like these with faster turnaround.