Until last night, I thought I was quite tech-savvy and very up-to-date with the latest and greatest in the web world. But I guess I was wrong 🙂
I started on a (brief) quest last month to add live-chat to some of my sites. After looking around, I couldn’t find a decent free solution. Of course, I always pay money gladly if I can’t find a free solution or find that a paid solution will solve my problem. And my search ended concluding LivePerson as the best option.
But then of course, my primary project took precedence, and I forgot all about it (eADD anyone?).
Recently, I picked up the thread again, and stumbled upon Yahoo Pingbox. It seemed very cool – simply add a piece of code (the gadget) to your web site, sign in to Yahoo Messenger as usual, and your visitors to the page with the gadget can chat with you, and you’ll get the messages in your YIM client. And the best part is, Yahoo notifies you every time someone arrives at the web page, even if they don’t initiate chat.
So, I tried it, but the gadget on my site always showed me as “Offline” even though I was online.
After a lot of searching, forum-posting and soul-seeking(!), I finally gave up on Yahoo’s Pingbox. But it was this search that led me to Google’s own Chatback solution.
It is rather surprising that Google and Yahoo would offer such services and do absolutely no marketing whatsoever.
And the irony is that even if you Googled for “google chat gadget” or something similar, you would probably still not find the link I’m about to share with you, as Google seems to have hidden their own service quite successfully from site owners like you and me – who can really use something like this!
Here’s a live example (you’ll see a live ‘clickable’ link if I’m ‘available’)…
When you add a Google Chatback Gadget to your site…
1. Visitors can chat with you anonymously, but you get all the instant messages in GoogleTalk or within the browser if you’re just chatting from within Gmail.
2. Your visitors won’t know what is your gmail id – so you don’t have to worry about spam.
3. Whatever status you set in Google chat, that’s the status your web site visitors will see too.
4. You can add the same widget to any number of web sites/pages.
Here’s how you add the Google Chatback Gadget to your site:
A. Go to http://www.google.com/talk/service/badge/New .
B. Log in to your Google account
C. Customize the Gadget style
D. Copy the code to your web sites/pages.
E. Sit back and wait for your visitors to start messaging you! Done!
So, spent 3 days and couldn’t get Yahoo Pingbox to work. Spent 10 seconds and got Google Chatback to work.
There, I just saved you a few hundred dollars 🙂