Google would be very happy if you used its Chat application, so pleased that it's pushing it beyond the boundaries of its actual app. Last month the tool became available to regular users (who don't pay for access to Google Workspace), and now its integration with Gmail is available to them, too. But it isn't turned on by default, so if you'd like to use it, you have to go digging in the settings menu.
When you're running from one meeting to another without a break in between, there's often a chance you're going to be a few minutes behind, whether it's because you need more time to finish a discussion or to take a technical break. 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. Thankfully, Google Workspace just rolled out a new feature that makes it very convenient to chat with people with whom you're about to meet.
The transition from Hangouts to Google Chat is now happening in earnest, with many even reporting that their group conversations have moved between the two platforms. It's just a matter of time until Hangouts itself is retired, so let's take a moment to look back at Google's most successful — and, perhaps, most ignored — messaging platform.
It's been a while since Google announced that it will split Hangout into two separate services — Chat and Meet. For workspace accounts, the transition to Chat began last year, but personal account holders were only given a blurred ETA of "first half of 2021." For a few lucky accounts, the migration started early, in August of 2020, and continued throughout the year and early 2021 (we've received dozens of tips since the original one). Now, things seem to be more official as Google is acknowledging the transition and calling this a "preview" of Google Chat.
If you've ever had an annoying (and perhaps private) Chrome notification pop up while sharing your screen, you're in luck — Chrome will now mute notifications by default when it detects you're sharing your screen. It should be hitting all accounts soon, but you can manually enable it now if you'd like.
Gmail is one of Google's most widely used products, which means the company likes to cram a lot of integrations with its other tools into it. Last year, a redesigned interface showed up for G Suite customers with support for Chat and Rooms sections in the sidebar. Now Google is rolling out an update that lets users resize these sections to suit their needs.
Google Chat may not be popular among general consumers, but it does have more use in enterprise settings, especially since G Suite admins picked up the ability to migrate to it from Hangouts earlier this year. It's a small quality of live improvement, but for teams using Google Chat, you can now set your status to away directly from Gmail.
Hangouts has been pronounced dead uncountable times, but Google's ill-fated attempt at an instant messaging service is kicking and fighting its demise. Now Google has taken another step to replace its old messenger with Meet and Chat, as group video calls have become unavailable on Android and the web following the latest app update.