Now Google Hangouts is Google Chat, and Good Luck

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Google Chat is available to everyone today.
Photo: Florence Ion/Gizmodo – All of us have the new Google Chat, but it has been, to say the least, confusing.

Instead of restricting Google to people that use apps through their employers, its Apps suite is officially made accessible to all users with a Google account. Close to 3 billion Google-based users now have access to new Gmail, Docs and Chat versions of the company. The change for people that use Google Hangouts to chat can either be a cure-all for Google’s messaging problems or another shift from Google that will only confuse everybody’s hell.

If in your browser you still use hangouts, by entering the Gmail settings on the Google Chat, you may manually switch to the “Chats and Meets” tab, click on “View all settings.” You will see a possibility for the new Google Chat experience to switch from the existing Hangouts app. As you save your changes, Gmail will refresh and pop up the dialog to embed the new service. Google will show you where shortcuts are placed for chat, meetings and new rooms, and click Start.

You can manually turn on Google Chat from the Gmail settings.
Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Google Chat has an excellent look for Google. More emoji reactions are available, message threading has been enhanced, user functions in large chat rooms and communities are available and chat apps like Diskord and Slack are moderating tools. Also available within every Room in Chat is a Spaces feature, which looks great for people with huge families or tightly-knit friends. Spaces contain common tasks, files and multi-task from Gmail between documents and chat.

You could use Spaces, or Rooms, to plan a family reunion.
Image: Google

The Chat app and its associated features isn’t the only thing you could try out to integrate people into workplaces as part of this new push. You can also check out the new Google Docs smart chips by typing the “@” and a name or order symbol. This announcement also uses the arrival of the individual Google Workspace for small companies and freelancers. A subscription provides access to intelligent booking services, a professional video meeting suite and customized email marketing facilities. There is even a way to route emails to a certain Gmail account from your website. Planning begins at $10 a month.

The act of ticking Hangouts off and turning over to Chat seems like the end of an arduous slogan: we waited and waited a little longer and prepared the finishing touches. Naturally, until Google actually kills Hangouts and forces the switch to chat, the saga will not be final.

If you need to reference other bits in Google Docs, simply “@” yourself.
Screenshot: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

What a saga this was. And what a saga. In the last five years, Google’s chat platform has cycled over too many names – the tech giant equivalent of a crisis in the identity of a soap opera. First, Gtalk was killed by Google and message services were rebranded as Hangouts. Hangouts were then divided into Hangouts Meeting and Hangouts Chat. When Google upgraded its functionality, Hangouts Meet was simply meeting and Hangouts Chat was always in the same box as it was in Gmail. Many people believed (including myself), that we could go on with business as usual. And that’s after I experienced the Great Messaging Crisis of 2018, when Google killed Android users and left the app again with exasperation.

The irony of this is that Google tried to make its messaging applications less confusing to users, and to smooth the transition at a moderate rate. However, the result is more general confusion. People only want to use the same message functionality they always had – it is unnecessarily complex to change names and features.

In the area of slack and Microsoft, Google has a ton of competition and the only leverage is its number of users. And many users can switch between Hangouts and Chat seamlessly. But there must be a better way for Google.