It’s apparent that Google is never going to update the Google Talk desktop software anymore, and as a result I’ve been trying to migrate over to using Gmail Chat since that still seems to get updated on a fairly regular basis. What kind of sparked me to start the migration was a few weeks ago when Google rolled out a desktop notification system for Gmail Chat that I knew would help make the transition even easier.

The main problem I’ve encountered is how difficult it can be managing multiple chats at the same time. I don’t like having the chats build up in my Gmail inbox because it just starts to feel cluttered, but popping them all out into their own windows can be equally as frustrating. What I didn’t realize initially was that Chrome actually has a built-in setting to treat a popup window just like any other tab. Here’s what you have to do:

  1. This is the popup window we are starting with. Notice that it doesn’t have a tab bar.
    Chrome popup window
  2. Click the Chrome icon in the upper-left corner of Titlebar, and choose the Show as tab option. 
    Chrome show as tab
  3. The tab bar should now be visible. Yay!
    Chrome popup tab
  4. You can now combine the tab with any other window.
    Chrome chat tabs

What I generally end up doing is aggregating all of my conversations into a single Chrome window. That way if I’m talking with ten different people at the same time their respective tabs will “flash” to indicate that they responded (in addition to the new desktop notification). Unfortunately you have to do this with each chat window, but I then just keep the tabs open for the people I chat with the most.