The 3 Best Integrated Chat and Email Services of 2020

Send email and stay engaged in a chat conversation at the same time

The integration of chat clients into our email inboxes has made staying in touch with friends and family even easier. Without missing a beat, you can now send an email and stay engaged in an IM conversation all from within your web browser.

The best part of these email chat clients is there is no download is necessary, and they are extremely easy to use! 

Check out our tutorials for the top three most popular email chats: AIM Mail, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail, and learn how to get the most out of these great applications.

Best for Extra Features: Gmail

The Gmail interface.
What We Like
  • Loaded with features.

  • Integrates with many apps and services.

  • Easy to access from anywhere.

  • Free storage.

What We Don't Like
  • Clunky user interface.

  • Outdated design.

  • Difficult to adjust settings.

Built with plenty of Google innovation, Gmail's email chat client is one of the simplest around but featuring many of the great functions of its Google Hangouts and Google+ integration. 

On the left, below your Gmail inbox and other email boxes and categories at the bottom, you'll find Google Hangouts.

Google's IM and social networking efforts have gone through a few name changes and focus shifts over the years, and the IM used to be called Google Talk or Gtalk. If you have been using Gmail for a while, you probably remember this IM section of Gmail being referred to as Gtalk. This eventually became Google Hangouts, but the chat interface remains essentially the same within Gmail.

You will see your contacts listed, and to start a chat with one, or continue a chat started previously, simply click on the person's name. A chat box will open in the lower right of the browser screen where you can send messages and carry on your conversation with the person.

You can also start a video call or a phone call from Gmail, and send an SMS text message to a contact's mobile phone if they have one, all from the chat box — just click the icon along the top of the box.

Best for Staying Connected: AIM Mail

The AIM interface.
What We Like
  • Attach files quickly.

  • Simple interface.

  • Unlimited storage.

  • Custom email folders.

What We Don't Like
  • Can't label emails.

  • Limited email search.

  • Difficult to organize emails.

For AIM Mail users, the embedded AIM email chat offers the same flexibility and efficiency as the AIM web-based IM, only in your inbox. 

AIM Mail brings together news, email, and IM in one place. On the left side of the screen, below your mail and calendar menu, you'll find your AIM Buddy List. Click on a buddy and a chat box will open in the lower right of your browser window.

Best for Unsending Messages: Yahoo! Mail

The Yahoo mail interface.
What We Like
  • Large amount of free storage.

  • Well-designed interface.

  • Integrated chat feature.

  • Scans emails for viruses.

What We Don't Like
  • Many ads.

  • Poor junk mail filtering.

  • Difficult to label messages.

  • IMAP access not available.

Just like Yahoo! Messenger and similar to AIM Mail, Yahoo! Mail's email chat lets users send and receive Yahoo! IMs.

Yahoo! Messenger offers a lot of great features that are accessible right from Yahoo! Mail. For example, you can click the image icon at the bottom of the Messenger chat box to add images to your messages. Yahoo! Messenger lets you select image files from your computer to be added to the message — but only images; you can't send documents or other files in this way.  

One useful feature that might help you avert an embarrassing blunder is the ability to "unsend" a message. Simply locate the message that you'd like to unsend, and scroll over it. A garbage can icon will appear — click it and confirm that you want to remove the message. The message should be deleted, though in testing it required deleting the message twice before it actually disappeared from both the sender and the recipient's chat.

Of course, if your recipient has already seen the message, this will not delete it from their mind, alas, but it can be very handy if you can catch it before they see it.

You can also favorite messages by placing your pointer over a message and clicking the heart icon. This will be displayed for other users in the conversation. 

Can't find an email chat you don't like? You can still find a great IM client without a download. All you'll need is a web browser and an internet connection.