Earlier this year, Google announced an enterprise-focused revamp of Hangouts. Split into two apps, Chat is focussed on text communication, while Meet is designed for video conferencing. The former service is not yet ready, but the latter is adding a highly requested messaging feature for text chatting during calls.
Google notes how link sharing and the ability to hold non-intrusive side conversations have been a “top feature request” since Meet’s launch earlier this year. This feature is notably not Hangouts Chat and is amusingly much more ephemeral in nature.
On the web, the side drawer that lists participants now includes a new chat tab. While it can be accessed manually, tapping on chat notifications that now appear in the bottom right corner will open the sidebar.
The chat interface is quite simple and just features the person’s name, time sent, and the message itself. Chat history is only available during calls and will not be saved after the fact.
Messaging will work on all Meet platforms and does not require users to be signed in with a Google account. Chats can be sent and received on web and mobile (version 4.5 and above), while they can only be received on Chromebox for Meetings.