Google Chat, the tech giant’s latest messaging app, is now free for all, while the merger of Gmail with Google Chat, Google Docs and Google Meet is also making its way into consumer accounts.
Google announced a major change for Gmail, which would transform it from a simple email app into a “single, integrated experience” where users can send emails, chat, work on a Google Doc and make video calls – all from a browser-based super app.
The built-in Gmail takes the form of a segmented sidebar design that includes all kinds of Google apps.
There are new sections with a spot for Google Chat “rooms” and an area for Google Meet that focuses on video calls.
Google Docs also has Gmail integration. When someone inserts a Google Docs link into Google Chat, users can point the mouse at the thumbnail and click “Open in Chat,” opening the Google Doc in a new multi-screen interface within Gmail, with the navigation bar on the left.
A split-screen interface with Google Chat on the left and Google Doc on the right will also appear.
Another new widget in the Gmail UI is the selectable Google Chat status in the upper right corner. This status says “Active” and has a green dot next to it, but users can simply switch “Do not disturb” or “Invisible” to change the status.
Starting today, users can activate the built-in experience in Google Workspace by enabling Google Chat while it is rolled out to all consumer accounts.
Google has previewed another new Gmail interface and a new Google Chat feature called “Spaces.” The update seems like an overhaul of the group chat feature of Google Chat, which was originally called “Rooms.”
Google Chat Spaces will include new features such as inline threading, presence ads, custom states, expressive responses and a collapsible view.
For more information, read the original story in Arstechnica.