Thursday, November 29, 2007

Official Google talk group chat, PartyChat, and You

As many of you have undoubtedly discovered, Google supports group chat functionality for Google Talk and today added this support to GMail Chat. I've been asked what this means with respect to PartyChat, so I figured I'd write down answers for you, the larger audience.

  • Officiality: Google's group chat offers official group chat behavior for Google talk users. PartyChat is not a product of Google (it's a personal pet project) and has no official support other than what I have time to personally give.

  • Who can use it: The announced group chat only works for Google Talk users (i.e. @gmail accounts or users of Google Apps). PartyChat works with with all Jabber accounts. If you don't know what Jabber is, don't worry. If you do... well, then there you go.

  • Persistence: Google's group chat functionality is designed for one-off conversations. You're talking with X and realize you want to add Y into the conversation. Or maybe you have some specific short-term goal in mind (organizing dinner, say) and have no use for a multi-user chat channel for future use. Once you close the window for a group chat, you've exited that chat forever. PartyChat is designed to be a persistent group chat channel. You stay in the group chat even if you log out. You don't have to re-invite people each time you want to have a discussion.
    For temporary chats, Google talk group chat is the easiest to use. If you have a long term goal in mind, or maybe just want a lasting social forum, then PartyChat will probably satisfy your needs better.

  • Accessibility: Because Google's group chat feature is specific to Google Talk, you must use the Google gadget/client to participate. If you use other chat clients (e.g. iChat, Pidgin, Meebo, a Blackberry, etc.) for Google Talk then you can't enter these group chats. Because PartyChat sits within the network, you use PartyChat from any device that sends/receives messages on the Google Talk/Jabber network.
I'm happy that Google now has wide-spread support for group chat, but I still think there's a need for the special features that PartyChat provides. My friends and I will continue working and supporting PartyChat, so enjoy using both!


  1. Actually if someone invites you back into the chat you established you can easily rejoin.

  2. hi.. could you please tell me how i can change or set password for a chatroom.. it so happened that i created one, it got quite popular and now i want to restrict it.. as i did not create it with password initially, i dont know how to go about it. i have tried looking around everywhere, there doesnt seem to be a command enlisted for this purpose. and yea, great work! keep it up mate.

  3. also, how can i delete a chatroom that i created?

  4. this is a great feature.....

    I have a small question. Can I see what are the available PUBLIC chat rooms people created, so I can join one of them? (like yahoo chat rooms).

  5. Hi, great feature however, it does not seem to be working for me and my group. I created the chat room and could see one buddy out of 6 and now i can see none. It says we are all joined in but can not see eachother. Any advice?

  6. The persistent chat feature is invaluable to my formerly disconnected work group. 6 people in 5 states. Thanks for making it work. Is there any way I can subscribe to this blog?

  7. Michael: the blog has an RSS feed you can subscribe to. If you use Google Reader or iGoogle, try

    Also, if you haven't already, switch over to our newer, awesomer system:

  8. Good Point
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