New In Google Talk: Embedded Videos From YouTube And Google Video

I just received a Google Talk chat message from Orli Yakuel that contained an embedded YouTube Video. Turns out Google is testing a feature that automatically turns direct links to YouTube videos copied into the instant messaging application (seems to work only from within Gmail, not the desktop client) into embedded clips.

Update: it also works with direct links to videos hosted on Google Video (which they’re about to shut down).

To make it work, simply paste the direct link. e.g. the URL for the video of Obama’s inaugural address into the conversation screen. The instant messaging client will automatically convert the video and show a preview image. When you play it, the video will open on top of the chat screen in Gmail (see screenshot).

This comes right off the heels of Gmail getting voice and audio video chat built-in. It’s a small feature for sure, but it’s another sign that Google is focused on integrating some of its services (and axing others) in order to become a more unified communication hub.

What would be really cool was if you could view videos from inside your e-mail message when you’re using the web version of Gmail without having to open another tab or window.