No matter what people might say, instant messengers haven’t really gone out of fashion. Despite the advent of in-app chat services (Facebook being the biggest example) and convenient texting rates, there is still a nice slice of the market where messengers are in demand. Skype has a clear lead among such apps, but it’s a bit too much for routine, day-to-day use when all you want to do is send a few written messages back and forth. A vast majority of people (especially in offices and working environments) use GTalk for interpersonal communications. Gmail has a lot of subscribers, and this ensures the success of GTalk. Windows Phone 7 isn’t really a Google-friendly platform (being a competitor of Android) but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t interact with your friends on GTalk. That’s what GChat is for.
Looking at the app, it’s evident that it has been designed with one aim in mind – to make it exactly like the stock messaging app – which is a good thing. The conversation thread is just like the conversation thread you must be used to seeing in your WP7 device’s native messaging app.
GChat supports live tile and push notifications (both work fine) and has all the usual chatting features (sorting contacts based upon who’s online, emoticon support, etc.) Off the record is a cute little feature added to the app which is used to notify the person you are chatting to whenever you are talking about something which demands discretion.
All these features make this free app a must-have for GTalk users. It’s a shame though that the app only works on Mango.