Google is slowly releasing this feature to users over the next few weeks, although I was fortunate to have my account activated this morning on my profile.
For those of you who have yet to see this feature live in your accounts, here is a brief review on some of the things I loved (and hated) about the new feature.
What I Loved :-)
The first thing I enjoyed was the ability to instantly communicate with friends while they were online. While "scrap chatting" can be fun, constantly refreshing the page after every scrap alert can become irritating after a while.
Another great feature that I enjoyed was the ability to choose to allow all of your friends to chat with you in Orkut, or simply limit it to certain groups (that you create within your friends settings page).
Missing features :-(
While anchoring at the bottom is convenient if someone is chatting with one or two people, it may become crowded if one is chatting with a lot of friends (unless of course Orkut decides to add group talk which might make it easier).
I also did not like the fact that video and voice chat were not included, a feature I think many Orkut users would really enjoy (as hearing your friends voice and seeing their face is a lot better than typing in text).
Since many users on Orkut also use the site for business networking (or even to locate a new job), video/voice chat would allow users to interview live over Orkut without the need to set foot in the office (which could save everyone some money during this recession).
Future suggestions ;-)
Since Google Talk already contains a status alert within its chat program, it would be really cool to see Google integrate Orkut status with Gtalk status.
It would also be great to see Google Talk embrace VoIP on Orkut, since most of Orkut's users come from Brazil and India (with the US coming in third).
This would give the Orkut business community another inexpensive option to communicate with suppliers/carriers, as well as give Skype some much needed competition. (note: Google already owns a VoIP company called GrandCentral, although they have yet to expand it beyond the US).
If anyone else has Google Talk activated within your account, feel free to share your suggestions, experiences, blog reviews (with a link) or screen names below (note: mine is HiddenNook).