Thursday, October 08, 2009

An easy way to disable the Google talk plugin in Firefox

I love the Google Talk app. But i simply hate Google’s voice and video chat plugin for Firefox.  This is mainly because
  1. It’s a memory hog (ok, Firefox is the real memory hog here, but this plugin makes its memory consumption peak even higher)
  2. It’s prone to being damaged if Firefox crashes for any reasons. There was an occasion when my browser used to crash every time I logged into Google mail and then switched tabs. It turned out the culprit was this plugin and it needed to be re-installed (see this and this).
  3. No matter how many times you remove it, it gets re-installed automatically. I hate applications who install themselves on my machine without even prompting me first. Apparently this is a part of the Google’s Update process. This to me looks more like a page taken from Microsoft’s old Windows Update manual. But I must hasten to add that since then M$ has seriously refined its updates. I have no cribs again them on this topic. Here’s you can disable or even completely uninstall this updater.
It is point #3 from above that has me writing this post. In my experience, disabling video/voice chat when using Gmail in Firefox is a sure-fire way of reducing memory usage. I simply download and use the Google Talk software (shown below)!

Start by turning off the little chat box in your Gmail window by clicking the little “turn off chat” link at the bottom of your Gmail screen (screenshot below)
"turn off chat" link on your gmail screen
Next comes removing the voice/video plugin (this is the main culprit in my observation).  This is a file named “npgoogletalk.dll”. Close Firefox, find it using Windows or any file search tool you like and delete it. Restart Firefox and you are set.
The only problem is every time I removed the Google video/voice chat plugin, it would come back again within hours. I suspect that’s the Google upgrade process reinstalling it. If you too have noticed the same thing then the only way I can see to work around this problem is to keep the plugin there but simply disable it.
Fortunately, Firefox offers a very simply way to do this within it’s Addons Window (Tools >> Addons). Look under the “Plugins” tab and scroll down until you find entries named “Google Talk Plugin” and “Google Update”
Click on each one and then click on the disable button. That’s it. You don't even need to restart Firefox. It’s as easy as that.
Questions? Corrections? anything else? Post a comment or twitter it across to me.


  1. Agree,

    hence I also have the Chat option turned off within Gmail and use Digsby as my IM CLient to chat across different networks.

  2. Disabling the plugin worked for me. Quick, easy, painless... thanks!

  3. Excellent information, thanks,

  4. I've seen this plugin in my taskmanager and wondered why I even have it . . apparently my granddaughter installs it, but now I can disable it easily whenever I want!! Thanks!

  5. I just had some luck with this (I think). I went into both of my Gmail accounts and completely disabled all chat options. Note: I could not uninstall because for some reason googletalkplugin.exe is not in my programs folder (Win XP), and it would not allow me to move it there (even though I was logged onto my PC as an admininstrator!). Anyway, after disabling it in Gmail, I went to my Task Manager, selected googletalkplugin.exe in Processes, and clicked on "End Process." Voila. This did not work prior to disabling it Gmail chat settings. After disabling chat, googletalkplugin did not re-establish itself after I ended it in Task Manager. And Google says it's not evil? Ha!

  6. thanks for letting me know Chicago News Bench™ . You might also want to check out my recent article on a related topic about using the freeware process explorer for stuff like this:

  7. Glad to be of help @19ab787eef6be9a9de21050f78aafaa8 :)