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100. Add a Friend to Your Contacts



Create a Google Talk Account

Send and Receive Instant Messages

Voice Chat with Others

Before you can communicate with others using Google Talk, you need to add them to your contact list. Your Google Talk contact list is separate from your Gmail contact list. Adding someone is as simple as a few clicks, as you'll see in this task. By the way, you should realize that the only people with whom you can communicate using Google Talk are other people who have installed the software. But as part of a business deal between Google and America Online, Google Talk users will eventually be able to communicate with users of America Online's instant messaging program, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM).

You can put people in your contact list who don't use Google Talk. But you won't be able to communicate with them until they install the Google Talk software. So if you try to send them a message using Google Talk before they have the software installed, you instead send them an email with the Gmail program, which invites them to download and install the Google Talk software.

Finally, your contact list is always visible in Google Talkit's what takes up most of the screen.

Key Term

Contact list A list of people in Google Talk with whom you correspond.

Add a Friend to Your Contacts

Click Add Friend

Launch Google Talk by double-clicking the icon and signing in. To add a friend to your Google Talk contact list, click the Add friend link at the bottom of the Google Talk screen.

Invite a Friend

After you click the Add friend link, you are brought to a screen that asks if you want to invite a friend to Google Talk. This is a slightly confusing screen because it implies that all you're doing is inviting them to download and install the Google Talk software. In fact, though, you're adding the person to your list of Google Talk friends in your contact list.

To add someone, type his email address into the Add box, and click Next. If you want to invite someone from your list of Gmail contacts, click the Choose from my contacts button. From the screen that appears, enable the check boxes next to the people you want to invite to join you on Google Talk, and click OK.

Click Finish

To complete the procedure for adding a friend to your contact listand inviting him to download and install the Google Talk software so he can exchange instant messages with youclick the Finish button.

Check Your Friend's Status

At first, your friend shows up on your contact list (the list in the main Google Talk screen), but with the word invited after his name. If he has not yet downloaded and installed Google Talk, the invited status stays there. After he installs Google Talk and registers it, the invited status disappears and he is permanently added to your contact list.

Similarly, if you've invited someone who already has a Google Talk account, the invited status disappears after a time.


The various instant messaging clients, such as Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger, and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), do not speak to one another. So if you're a Google Talk user, you can't, for example, send an instant message to someone who uses Yahoo! Messenger. As of this writing, however, Google and America Online have announced that they will cooperate to enable users of Google Talk and AIM to send messages to one another.

Manage Your Friend List

When you've put friends on your contact list, you can manage how to display the list, and you can take action on the friends listed in it. Right-click a friend on the contact list to display a context menu of options. You have the following choices:

  • Rename You can rename the friend's entry in your contact list. For example, if the friend's name appears in your contact list as a nickname that is hard to decipher (such as Joe43XC3), you can rename the entry so it appears as his real name. Or if the entry appears as your friend's real name, you can rename the entry to display a nickname or something descriptive.

  • Remove If you no longer want the person listed in your contact list, select this option to remove the entry.

  • Block If you don't want to receive messages from the person or allow Google Talk to let this person know when you're online, select this option to block him.


If you've sent a contact an invitation and he has yet to respond to you, two additional options show up on this screen: Invite Again and Withdraw Invitation. Those options do exactly what they saythey enable you to send another invitation or to withdraw the one you've already sent.

  • Sort friends by name This option arranges the entries in your contact list in alphabetical order, rather than in the order in which you added them to your list.

  • Hide offline friends This option hides the names of people in your contact list who are not currently online. This option is useful if you have a long list of friends. If you hide offline friends, it is easy for you to see at a glance who is online and determine with whom you can communicate.

  • Also show Gmail contacts You can display the names of all the people in your Gmail contact list. For any contacts who are not also on your Google Talk friends list, highlight the name, click the Invite button that appears, and go through the process described in steps 24.


You can have your entire Gmail contact list automatically show up on your Google Talk friends list. To do that, at the bottom of the Google Talk screen, click the Show all xxx link, where xxx is the total number of your Gmail contacts.

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