Google is not exactly known for its desktop apps, but, for now, it still needs them for special tasks. To support voice and video chat, Google developed a browser plugin which has now been finally made available for Linux desktops as well.
"If you’ve been wanting to use voice and video chat on Linux (our top video chat request), then we have good news for you: it’s now available!," Tristan Schmelcher, Software Engineer at Google wrote.
"Voice and video chat for Linux supports Ubuntu and other Debian-based Linux distributions, and RPM support will be coming soon," he explained.
Like Google mentions, the plugin is only available for Debian-based distros and only in binary form. Getting it is straightforward, just download the .deb package and install it with your manager of choice.
Google says an RPM package for Red Hat-based distros is on its way, but you can probably use one of the many package converters out there in the meantime.
An Linux version of the plugin was the top user request, but it wasn't a trivial task for Google engineers. Google says it had to develop an all-new video rendering method for the in-browser video chat feature.
It also put a lot of effort into the PulseAudio-based audio handler. The plugin works in 64-bit systems, as well.
Google says the plugin is on par with the Windows and Mac versions and this was one of the main goals, to have a feature-complete Linux version. Video and voice chat in Gmail, iGoogle and Orkut is now supported on all three major platforms.
The plugin is all the more important since Google has big plans for Voice and wants to launch a full-blown VoIP service with soft phone built into Gmail. The Linux version of the plugin may end up in the upcoming Google Chrome OS, which is based on the Linux kernel and some libraries, though Google may opt for a purely web-based approach.
Google Talk Video Chat Plugin is available for download here on Softpedia.