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On Gchat, everyone can hear you scream

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When another Gmail user e-mails you, he or she automatically appears on your Gchat "buddy list," and vice versa. You suddenly find yourself with a permanent on-screen window into the other's life--for better or worse. (Photo by Danielle Friedman/CNS)

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In just a few years, Gmail has become a far-reaching, ubiquitous presence in the online world. We all use it, and most of us love it. But it turns out the mail program has a unique quirk that’s causing weird levels of discomfort: When another Gmail user e-mails you, he or she automatically appears on your Gchat “buddy list,” and vice versa, giving you a permanent onscreen window into the other’s life.


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