After years of owning all things Mac, I am finally trying to use iChat, and can't get it to work. I see my buddy, but all I can do is send a message--the video and audio chat icons are gray, as is inviting to a video chat under Buddies.

After years of owning all things Mac, I am finally trying to use iChat, and can't get it to work. I am using gmail, and I see my buddy (no camera icon next to her name), but all I can do is send a message--the video and audio chat icons are gray, as is inviting to a video chat under Buddies. My buddy has the same problem as I.  We are able to do video chat through gmail, but I had hoped to use iChat.  I am using OS 10.6.8, iChat v. 5.0.3.  What am I missing?

HI,
iChat will Video chat to another iChat in a Jabber Buddy List (Google run a Jabber server for GoogleTalk)
However it will not Video to the Web Page login to iGoogle or the Web Mail Page login.  (where people can Google Chat as it were in a  Web Browser).
Nor does it video to the Google Talk Stand alone app for PCs or any other Jabber apps on any platform.
iChat uses a connection Process called SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) which is also used by other VoIP devices.
Jabber/XMPP invited the Jingle Protocol for Jabber Applications.
Google have included this in their Standalone app and the Plug-in for Web Browsers on both PCs and Mac (you can get this as a Standalone Plug-in or as part of Chrome)
More on this here  This article has been changed several time in the recent months.  It now claims a greater involvement by Google in writing the Jingle Library (Although now Google's version does not work with the others)
This tends to mean that using the web Login to Google to Chat also cannot video chat to other Jabber apps that are using Jingle.
If your Buddy is using iChat then check the Video Menu has two items to Enable Camera/Video chat and Microphone/Audio chats are ticked.
In the View Menu the Show Status Items should be ticked (Selecting them toggles the tick and the function On or Off)
It could be Internet speed but at this stage I would doubt this at this stage.
10:27 PM      Saturday; January 21, 2012
Please, if posting Logs, do not post any Log info after the line "Binary Images for iChat"
  iMac 2.5Ghz 5i 2011 (Lion 10.7.2)
 G4/1GhzDual MDD (Leopard 10.5.8)
 MacBookPro 2Gb (Snow Leopard 10.6.8)
 Mac OS X (10.6.8),
"Limit the Logs to the Bits above Binary Images."  No, Seriously

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