At last week’s I/O event, Google announced a revamped, unified messaging replacement for Google Talk called ‘Hangouts’,

An official Hangouts extension for Chrome and Chrome OS is already available to install from the Chrome Web Store. If you’re a Google+ user you’ll also find the new chat experience available from there, too.

But the revamped chat service isn’t enabled by default on GMail for everyone just yet. Google are rolling it out to users in stages.

If you don’t yet have Hangouts in Gmail but want it, here’s how to manually turn it on.

Turn On Hangouts in Gmail

  • Sign in to GMail (note: doesn’t currently work for Google Apps users)
  • Expand the Google Talk box in the left-hand sidebar by clicking the ‘speech bubble’ icon.
  • Click on your chat avatar
  • Select ‘Try the new Hangouts’ option

See the image below if you’re unsure of where it is.

enable hangouts in gmail
Enable hangouts in Gmail

Gmail will instantly reload when you click this option, so if you’re in the middle of something important (i.e. gossip, or reading the latest bit of spam from Amazon) be sure to save, make excuses, etc.

Don’t like Hangouts? You can revert to the “old” Google Talk by following the same steps above but choosing ‘Revert to Old Chat’ at the last step.

Google Apps How To google talk hangouts