What's the Latest Development?

Born from the tawdry sexuality of AOL's instant messaging service, Google's chat platform has become the medium of choice for most instant text communication over the Web. Another trinket among which we divide our time at home or at work, it can be yet another distraction to distract us from distraction. "Our banalities are more shameful than any fantasy or confession. ... Time is misspent twice: we talk about life as thoughtlessly as we live it. And the server farms know this." We are often given to talking about the Internet while on the Internet.

What's the Big Idea?

While live chatting is a contemporary form of communication, it returns some of the finery and playfulness that was once associated so closely with speech in the 17th and 18th centuries. "All we really need, to know love, is a plain old wireless connection and somewhere to lie down: the best Gchat conversations take place, like those of the salon, with one or both participants in repose, stretched out on a couch or in bed." Gchat represents the communal table around which we gather to maintain conversations with the ones we love—and the ones who love us.