The latest news from Google regarding it’s e-mail service GMail is that they are adding a web based chat into GMail. This isn’t going to be some lamer version of AIM Express or whatever they are calling it now. This means there is no software to load. It will be as quick as you’ve expected Google to be. Additionally, you will see a Quick Contact list inside of GMail to see who is currently on. While writing an e-mail to someone it will show you if that person is currently online, for speedily delivery of your message if need be.
Surprisingly Google is the first to try something like this. I’m sure it will be great. Google Talk will still be around for voice calls.
I almost forgot. The greatest feature to join this onslaught of Google Talk + Gmail is the remote archiving of chats. This is optional. You can enable the online archiving of your chats, and search them within GMail. I always archived my IMs using Gaim, but they always got wiped out due to hard drive reformats, and I never backed them up.