Last month, Google started rolling out an online revamp of Chat to free consumer accounts as part of the classic Hangouts migration. That Google Chat web redesign is now coming to paid Workspace users over the coming weeks with a number of enhancements.
Update 6/25: Google is now rolling out the Chat web redesign to all Workspace accounts. Previously, it was only available to domains that had “Gmail service turned on.” It’s now coming to those with Gmail off. This new look will apply to chat.google.com and Progressive Web Application (PWA).
It’s meant to ensure a “consistent and predictable Chat experience across Chat in Gmail and Chat standalone surfaces” and the rollout will begin June 30. This change applies to:
Available to Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, Education Fundamentals, Education Plus, Frontline, and Nonprofits, as well as G Suite Basic and Business customers
Original 3/22: A top bar that features a search field now spans the screen, while the ability to set your status has been moved to the top-right alongside settings. The side drawer is now arranged by “Chat” and “Rooms,” while there’s also a Meet shortcut at the very bottom.
The new interface is similar to that of Chat in Gmail, giving users a consistent and predictable Chat experience no matter where they are.
On the usability front, Google’s release notes highlight a slew of changes:
- In Chat rooms, you can now access shared files and tasks via tabs at the top of the room
- We’ve added the quick access side panel on the right side, like in Gmail, to provide access to apps like Calendar, Keep, Tasks, and Maps
- Search for existing conversations or for people to start new conversations is now under the “+” on the left-side navigation.
- You can use the search bar at the top to look for content across all rooms and direct messages (DMs). To search for content within each room or direct message, click on the search button at the top right corner of the room/DM first and then proceed to search for content in the search bar.
- The “Chat” and “Rooms” sections on the left-side navigation bar are static, allowing you to scroll more easily within each section. You can readjust the height of each of the sections based on your preference.
- Feature to toggle between full screen view and pop-up view for both rooms and DMs, allowing easier multi tasking between conversations.
- Integration with Google Meet so you can join or start a call directly from Chat
Google also confirms that chat.google.com now redirects to mail.google.com/chat, with the Progressive Web App (PWA) getting automatically updated.
This Chat redesign will start rolling out on Wednesday and be fully available in the coming weeks for Google Workspace customers that have “Gmail service turned on.” Other domains will be getting it in the coming months.
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