Nails on a Chalkboard: The Google Chat Notification Sound


There’s a scene in the movie “Dumb and Dumber” in which Jim Carrey asks, “Do you want to hear the most annoying sound in the world?” And then he screeches at the top of his lungs. If that movie was made today you could easily substitute Carrey’s screaming for the notification sound Google Chat makes.

You are feverishly working on deadline, concentrating to craft the perfect sent-
-ence, when that noise cuts through your mind as your-
mental train goes careening off its rails.

Arrrgh. Who is it, and what the @*&#$ do you want?!

Om’s talked about Gmail sucking, but this is a bigger threat to productivity, since at some point it will drive me insane and I’ll take everyone with me.

Does it have to be such an unpleasant, angry, sound? Especially since it repeats the noise until you switch windows and read the damn message? A jackhammer would be less obnoxious. And the only option in the settings menu is to turn the sound off, which really isn’t helpful when someone is trying to urgently reach you.

Why not a few options, Google? I don’t need the sound of puppies making rainbows or bunny rabbits blowing kisses, but there has to be a less harsh noise than the one you dumped into such an important communication tool for the modern worker. Heck, you could even slip in the biddy-biddy sound from 411-GOOG.




Interesting read, i need to get that for my gmail. Come check out my audio-sharing website it’s like a “youtube for audios” you can upload all your audio content, check it out. Also if you want to, feel free to write a review of it.


We could create a Facebook Group: “I bet I can find 1.000.000 people who dislike The Google Chat Notification Sound”


If you’re using Linux with PulseAudio, you can turn the volume down on just your browser.

From Google itself, to disable the sounds in Gmail chat:
If you have Flash enabled on your computer, Gmail will play an audio notification for each incoming chat. Audio notifications are enabled by default, but you can always disable them. Here’s how:

1. Log in to your Gmail account.
2. Click Settings at the top of any Gmail page.
3. Open the Chat tab.
4. In the Sounds section, select Sounds off.
5. Click Save Changes.

As for options other than on or off, they’d be nice, but you can already use any supported Jabber client and turn Gmail Chat off. Because of that, I don’t see it ever being a priority.

Maybe you could put out a bounty for a Greasemonkey script to take care of it?


Thank you, thank you, thank you for teaching me how to turn off that awful sound. You’ve earned yourself some great karma. Cheers!

Libran Lover

Amen. You bring up an important point… not only about being able to select the notification sound of our choice. Equally important is being able to choose when to hear the sound. I’d love to have the option of hearing the sound only when a contact sends the first message. If I ignore that particular contact’s first message, I don’t want to hear the sound if s/he sends any subsequent messages in the same interval. I want this on my computer and also on GTalk for BlackBerry.


Ha – great post. We often imitate the Meebo ‘dong’ around the office. I need a life. :)

Stacey Higginbotham

Chris, you may have solved some of your problem. After reading this, I will never IM you again :)


I used to hate the Yahoo Messenger noise but the latest one is far better, but the Google chat one sucks outright. I actually disabled the sound since I couldnt take it any more..


LOL.. i know exactly wht you are saying.. its annoying as helll.. I like the iChat one.. its low pitched.. and u can change it to whatever…

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