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Google Talk is a great tool for instant communication, but one thing it lacks is chat rooms. Chat rooms are a great way for a group of friends or colleagues to chat together online, but unfortunately, Google Talk lacks support for chat rooms. Partychapp is a chat bot that takes care of this problem, and creates a pseudo chatroom for you and your friends.

Partychapp is a bot that relays a conversation to all of those that are connected to it. In addition to relaying the chat to all of your friends, it has some fun features built into it as well. There are two ways to set up your own Google Talk chat room with Partychapp.

Set Up a Chatroom with Your Web Browser

You can set up a chatroom directly from your browser if you log into Partychapp with your Google Account. Once you log in with your account, you’ll be taken back to the Partychapp web page, but you’ll see a button that says Create a new room. Click on the button, and you’ll get a simple form to create your new chat room.

google talk chat room

The form is self-explanatory. Just pick the name for your chat room, decide whether or not you want it to be public or private, enter the email address of anyone you would like to invite to the room, and click Create!

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When you sign into Google Talk, you will receive a chat request from the bot (it will be yourchatroomname@partychapp.appspotchat.com, where yourchatroomname is the name of your chat room). Accept the chat request, and start chatting away with the bot. As others accept the request from the bot, they will say everything you say to the bot.

Set Up a Chatroom By Chatting With The Bot

If you don’t feel like logging into Partychapp with your Google Account and creating the channel through the web form, you can set up a new chat room by just chatting directly with the bot. Just add yourchatroomname@partychapp.appspotchat.com to your buddy list and start chatting with the bot. Simple enough. You can invite others by sending the command /invite yourfriendsemail@gmail.com.

Here’s what Partychapp looks like in action:

gtalk chat room

Fun with the Partychapp Bot

Not only does Partychapp provide you with a chat bot, but the bot has many commands that provide some additional functionality. To see a list of all the commands, just type /help and you’ll get a list of commands. The output from /help looks like this:

List of commands:
* /leave - leave the room
* /list - show members of room
* /help - shows this
* /alias name - rename yourself to 'name'
* /score target - see the score of 'target' in plusplusbot
* /reasons target - see why target's score was changed
* /me - describe what you're doing in the third person
* /invite email1@foo.com, email2@bar.com ... - Invite a list of email addresses to this room
* /inviteonly - Set the room to invite-only
* /kick - Remove a user or invitation from this room
* /status - show what room you're in
* /summon  - summons a person in the room by sending them an email.
* /undo - undo the pluspluses and minusminuses from your last message
* /debug [sequenceIds|clear] - if you don't know what this does, you probably shouldn't use it
* /stats - return system stats
* /graph-score   ... - prints a link to a graph of the changes to up to three targets' scores.
* /snooze (20s|45m|1h|2d) - snooze for a specified amount of time in seconds, minutes, hours, or days.
* search and replace handler - use s/foo/bar to replace foo with bar
* plusplusbot: handles ++'s and −−'s
* Message echo@ to hear yourself talk
* Found a bug? Let us know: http://code.google.com/p/partychapp/issues/entry
* Follow us for announcements at http://twitter.com/partychat

If you’re wondering what’s up with the slashes in the commands, it’s borrowed from the command syntax for IRC. IRC is an old-school Internet chat system that has been around since 1988. Even today, IRC remains a popular form of instant communication online.

Probably the first command you’ll want to use is /alias. Just type /alias YourAlias to change your name as others will see it. You can use the /invite command I mentioned earlier to invite your buddies into the chatroom. The /inviteonly command toggles the chat room from invite-only to public.

If you’re wondering what plusplusbot is, works very much the same as plusplusbot on Twitter. If you like something, you add a ++ after it and if you dislike something, you add a −− after it. For example, if you type Partychapp++, the bot responds with [YourAlias] Partychapp++ [woot! now at 1]. If you type Partychapp++, the bot responds with [YourAlias] Partychapp−− [ouch! now at 0].

You can see the score for any word with the /score command. In this case, /score Partychapp, you get Partychapp: 0. You can also provide reasons along with your ++/−− commands. For example, if you type [YourAlias] Partychapp++ because it’s cool, you get [YourAlias] Partychapp++[woot! now at 1] because it’s cool. You can then list all the reasons for scores if you type /reasons Partychapp++. In this case, the output looks like:

Partychapp: 1
increment by youremail@gmail.com (Partychapp++)
decrement by youremail@gmail.com (Partychapp−−)
increment by youremail@gmail.com (Partychapp++ because it's cool)

Another cool feature the bot has is search and replace. To search and replace, you type s/foo/bar to replace foo with bar. For instance, if you type on one line Partychatt and the next line you type s/tt/pp the bot responds YourAlias meant Partychapp.

What’s really cool (if you’re a geek like me) is that the search/replace uses regular expressions. Regular expressions, although cryptic and difficult to master, provide an extremely powerful mechanism for the programmatic processing and manipulation of text. There are several unix utilities that make use of regular expressions, as well as many programming and scripting languages (Perl, PHP, Java, JavaScript, PCRE, Python, and Ruby to name a few).

Partychapp is a great way to set up chat rooms with your friends. If you want to try it out, I’ve set one up called makeuseof. Just add makeuseof@partychapp.appspotchat.com to your Google Talk buddy list and start chatting away. If I’m logged into Google Talk, you just might run into me there.

Note: If you’re concerned about sharing your Gmail address with those that are already in the MakeUseOf chat room I’ve set up, do not use the bot. Your Gmail address will be announced when you enter the bot.

So what do you think of Partychapp in lieu of Google Talk’s missing chat rooms?

  1. Harshall
    February 27, 2010 at 4:54 am

    Hi, I created a chat room, i invited my few buddies to it. One day i made my chatroom as invite only and i left d room. now the problem is that i cannot get into the room.How can i get back in room?

    • GeekLad
      March 1, 2010 at 3:36 pm

      You should be able to just rejoin the room, unless the room has been set to invite only. If it is invite only, you'll have to have one of your friends reinvite you. If everyone has left the chat room and it is invite only, I believe you are SOL. You'll have to create a new room.

  2. UnoBlogger
    December 14, 2009 at 2:18 am

    good article thanks,

  3. Node Tech Blog
    December 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    good add-on for google talk, and easy command list.

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