In a blog post on the Outlook.com blog today, Microsoft has announced that it’s rolling out Google chat integration, allowing you to chat with your Google friends from Outlook.com. The feature works across your Outlook.com inbox, as well as from People, Calendar, and even SkyDrive:
We believe people choose to use many different services and that our role is to help them connect to the people who matter most, wherever they are. You see this in the People experience, where you connect to your contact lists from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. And you can already chat with your Facebook and Skype friends. But we heard that some of you who switched over from Gmail still want to chat with friends stuck on Gmail. Today, we’re excited to announce that you can now also chat with your Google friends. With this feature, the next time you’re reading an email from someone who uses Gmail, you can reply with a quick chat right from your Outlook.com inbox. And if you’re working together on an Office document in SkyDrive, you can send an instant message to a Google contact with just a click. We’re rolling out Google chat integration now, so look for it in your inbox over the next couple of days.
By opening the Messaging pane in Outlook.com or SkyDrive (once the new features roll out, which may take a day or two and “you might notice a few quirks if you’re jumping around between SkyDrive and Outlook.com, but that will be resolved as soon as the rollout is complete”), you will be able to add your Google contacts using the “industry-standard” OAuth protocol.
GChat integration has long been rumored, in fact, we first posted about it back in 2007, when a Microsoft engineer noted in a talk at Georgia tech that they had a “basic internal version” of GTalk integration working for Messenger, and then in 2009, when a leaked internal memo noted that Microsoft was working to achieve “full integrative support for widely popular instant messaging networks”.
Microsoft added the ability to connect Google as a service back in early 2012, as we noted at the time, but now you’ll have the ability to chat directly, too. No word yet on Google integration with Skype, we’ll see what we can find out. Google is also expected to announce their integrated Google Talk / GChat / Google + Hangouts service, possibly rebranded as just “Google Hangouts” as early as Google I/O.