Well, love'em or hate'em they're here.
Smileys (a.k.a. emoticons) finally worked their way into your gmail account.
And as you'd might expect, Google's chat has been updated too:
So, no more need to hunt down those secret emoticons anymore. :)
Update: after all, there still are some secret smileys you might want to check out here.
Update 2: and even more emoticons and emoji you can enable in the Labs section of Gmail.