Google Chat

Since launch, rooms in Google Chat have had conversations grouped into threads. This approach made sense for some, but was a barrier to high-volume teams and contrasted with Slack. Google is now adding the ability to have unthreaded Chat rooms.

Today, conversations in rooms must be grouped into threads. This change introduces a simpler type of conversation, without threads — giving you greater flexibility in your discussions.

When creating rooms later this month, you’ll see a new “Use threaded replies” option to set whether conversations are organized into different threads. Google equates that experience to being “like email,” and notes that it is “not available for classic Hangouts chats.”

The old threaded behavior is not enabled by default, while you “cannot change whether a room is threaded or unthreaded after it’s created.” Additionally, Google says that “existing rooms won’t change — you can continue to participate in threaded rooms and create more.”

Meanwhile, unthreaded rooms feature the ability to toggle conversation history on/off:

room history setting is available in the Admin console that allows admins to decide the default history setting for rooms within their organization that support the toggle.

With unthreaded rooms now the default, Google Chat is becoming more of conventional group messaging tool. Larger organizations were especially geared toward threads, but it would slow down conversations for other fast-moving groups and required constantly checking older discussions.

The next step for Chat would be threads that can be created at will in unthreaded conversations. Unthreaded rooms are rolling out to Google Chat starting on November 16, 2020, and fully available soon after for the following tiers:

Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education, Enterprise for Education, and Nonprofits customers.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: