If you use iGoogle a lot, you might have noticed that the page loads slowly because of the Google Talk embedded in the sidebar. Unlike other iGoogle Gadgets that you can easily manage either by settings or simply deletion, you can’t mess with the Google Talk tab on the sidebar. Or can you?
You can manage all of the gadgets and tabs there and among other things, also decide whether or not you want to have Google Talk in the sidebar. If you don’t want Google Talk, select the hide chat radio button. With that, your iGoogle dashboard will load a little faster. In my testing with and without the Gtalk sidebar, I get about a second difference in load time. Is it worth it? I think so: it reduces load time but it also reduces visual clutter on an already busy page.
If you still want some access to Google Talk though, you have better options:
So, in conclusion, you can easily turn off the Google Talk Sidebar tab if it bothers you by going to iGoogle Settings.
(2012) Disclosure: I no longer personally use iGoogle and have instead migrated to keeping Gmail, Calendar and Reader open in separate tabs in Chrome.