Outlook and SkyDrive users will now be able to chat with their Gmail contacts without leaving Microsoft's service.
Tech giant Microsoft announced a new feature today that some business owners who rely on online chatting tools to communicate with colleagues and others might find useful.
Since releasing the new version of its popular webmail service Outlook.com last fall, Microsoft has been busy rolling out new features and tools for it. The latest: Microsoft is making it possible for users to chat with their Gmail contacts on Outlook. The new chat feature will be made available to users over the next few days, Microsoft says.
Once you link up your Google account with Outlook, your Gmail friends will appear in your contact list and you'll be able to chat with them. Users will also be able to chat with their Google-bound friends through SkyDrive, Microsoft's cloud data storage service. This can, for instance, provide a useful way to communicate with colleagues while working on documents together.
While Google Talk -- Gmail's instant messaging service -- has text, audio and video chat options, Microsoft's new chat will be text-only, for the time being at least. But thanks to a recent integration with Skype, Outlook.com users have access to video web calling.
The new Outlook.com replaces Microsoft's Hotmail service. It also features SkyDrive integration, a sleek new calendar and two-step verification for email accounts. Microsoft migrated the remaining Hotmail users to the new email client earlier this month, while keeping their mail, calendars, contacts and settings intact.