Courtesy of Garrett Rogers, I see Google has got into the chat box game but with a wee twist. Instead of requiring the respondent to sign over their digital soul to Google, they can start by simply typing away. This according to GoogleTalkAbout:
To use chatback, you must have a Google Talk account … but your visitors don’t have to! They don’t even need to have an email address, or to have ever used instant messaging.
When they visit your site, they’ll see a badge like the one on the right showing your online status (available, busy, offline) and, if you’re available, they can just click and start chatting. Chatback uses the web-based Google Talk Gadget so your visitors don’t need to download anything. It opens in a new window so they can keep chatting with you even if they browse to other pages.
I’ve popped it onto my sidebar – let’s see if anyone turns up. More important, let’s see if I can remember to turn it off! Now just think about how your clients might use this?
UPDATE: Any chat is private as between the participants. I found that out this morning when a reader in Silicon Valley popped in for a chat. Nice.