Autonomous Technology-Assisted Language Learning/Interaction/GoogleTalk

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Google Talk is a very valuable tool for interacting with electronic language exchange partners, particularly when used in conjunction with Gmail as the combination provides free e-mail with huge storage (over 2.7 GB), presence (you can see the online status of your contacts), text chat, file sharing and voice communication (between Windows users). And all text chat is stored centrally by default.

But it gets a bit complicated concerning the type of communication that is available under different scenarios. As best as I can figure out, it goes like this.

  • Gmail user to any other e-mail user
    • e-mail
  • Gmail user to any other Gmail user
    • e-mail and text chat (if both Gmail users are online)
  • Gmail Windows user with Google Talk installed to another Gmail Windows user with Google Talk installed
    • e-mail
    • text chat (if both users are online)
    • file transfer (if both user are online)
    • audio call (if both users are online)
    • voicemail (if second user is not online or doesn't answer audio call)

If you mouse over a contact in your Quick Contacts list and see that the "Call" button is "live" (the letters of "Call" are black and the telephone icon is green), this means that your contact has Google Talk installed and running on a Windows computer and you can do any of the above things. If the "Call" button is greyed out, your contact does not have Google Talk installed and running. You can invite him or her to install Google Talk via the Google Talk application "+ADD" button on the bottom of Google Talk (but he or she can do so only if he or she has a computer running Windows 2000, 2003 Server or XP).