Google rebranded G Suite into Workspace last fall, bringing along new icons and some fresh features to help keep users working from home organized and in control of meetings, emails, calendars, and more. Today, Google announced some major changes for Workspace, including an individual plan for small businesses, an introduction to Spaces, and new RSVP options in Calendar — and it's making it available to everyone.
The killing of Google Hangouts has been a tough one. Google has been trying to kill Hangouts since Google Allo and Google Duo were announced in 2016, which means Google has been going at it for at least 5 years. Right now, though, it's been trying to get Hangouts users moved over to Google Chat. And users of Hangouts are... not exactly in love. In an attempt to make them feel a little bit more at home, Google Chat is now rolling out support for GIFs.
Google Chat's been replacing the aging Google Hangouts, even if not everyone's a fan. But for teams who really give it a chance, it can work amazingly, with support for abilities like creating and assigning tasks à la Asana or Basecamp. While you can add details to a task, sometimes you might forget some context or leave behind a couple of notes that might've been important. This is why Google is now adding a handy shortcut called View in Chat.
Google has been working to support dark themes in many of its apps and services since Android 10 and system-wide dark theme started rolling out. It's been a slow and tedious process, but we're getting there. However, along the way light modes have become considerably brighter as well, with enough white to make you feel like you're being blinded — especially when working at night. That's a problem for apps that have gotten an updated UI, but were still waiting for a dark theme. Google Chat for the web has been just such an example, but luckily, it's now finally going dark.
Joining the likes of 2006-era MSN Messenger and Google Hangouts (which it replaces), Google Chat has picked up support for custom statuses. Previously teased as part of the "Spaces" tweak expected to roll out this summer, the feature is live in both Google Chat and Gmail, allowing for custom text, emojis, and dates for your status. After arriving on the web apps earlier this summer, both Android clients now have access to statuses as well.
Hangouts is one of Google's most established messaging apps, but it's been dying a slow deathfor quite some time now. The transition to Google Chat is mostly complete for Google Workspace business users, but personal account holders have been able to hang on (sorry) for a bit longer. It looks like Google is preparing to put a stop to that, though.
The availability of emoji is a bit more complicated than we'd like — the apps that you use most may not offer the same emoji as your system does. If you're a Google Chat user, though, you might be happy to learn that you'll soon be getting some new emoji to play around with.
We've all been late to an upcoming meeting, especially when running from one Google Meet call to the next. Common courtesy is to let people know you're going to be late, but this should be as easy as possible, especially when you're already short on time. Google Workspace introduced a feature a few months ago that made it convenient to chat with people with whom you're about to meet, and with its latest update, it's even easier to reach out to groups.
The transition from Hangouts to Google Chat was a lot less bumpy than I expected, though it took ages. Now that many of us have moved over, we have a steady influx of new features to look forward to, including today's development. Google is rolling out filters for search in Google Chat to make it easier to find what you need, starting with the Android app.