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Google adds audio, video tools to Gmail

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Google has added new video and audio conversion tools to its free email service – Gmail – in an effort to eat into some of Microsoft and Yahoo!’s market share.

Users with a webcam who want to see and hear the people they’re emailing and chatting with online via Gmail, which is known as Googlemail in the UK, can now do so – well, after installing software on their computers, that is.

Google introduced the tools yesterday. Its video feature is tied directly to Gmail, in other words the software doesn’t cross-pollinate to non-Gmail accounts. It’s compatible with the Windows XP and Vista and Apple Mac’s running OS X 10.4 or later.

It works in modern browsers such as Firefox 2.0+, IE7, Safari 3.0, and of course Google's Chrome.

Yahoo and Microsoft already offer similar features, with one significant difference: Google’s rivals do not provide the apps in their more popular free email services.

According to comScore states, Gmail currently boosts 113 million worldwide users. Hotmail clocks up 283 million and Yahoo! isn’t far behind with 274 million email accounts. ®

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