Although I have rarely used IRC (due to going in to chatrooms and finding that I either couldn't quite grasp what was going on or that I didn't understand the lingo being used), I can easily see the benefit of a "Chat" section of Google devoted to finding the most relevant and most used IRC channels. If I were able to find channels on topics that interest me and were more likely to find good discussions, then I would certainly use such a tool. Since the numbers appear to be quite high for IRC usage, this seems only logic for Google to have as a consideration. I do not know what Google is doing, or if Google as an entity is intending to do anything with IRC. It could just be a Google employee looking around and experimenting. I think that these same discussions have been held over Usenet, Forums, and Blogs about why search engines would even consider crawling them, indexing them, what not. Obviously, the more information a search engine has, the more targeted and appropriate results can be made for the user.