Last year Google announced that in the future Gmail chat messaging and group rooms would be included in the current Meet video calling integration. It is already available to workspace users, and Google now allows personalized Gmail accounts to have this “unified workspace”.
New Gmail with chat and room access is now available for free Google Accounts on iOS. This capability went live for the iPhone and iPad last month. Full instructions are given below.
The merger comes as Google wants to make Gmail its new “home for work”. The goal is to allow users to get everything on a page without having to switch between other tabs. Since you have the option to open Gmail on your desktop, Google integrates everything right there.
Gmail now has four main sections. “Mail” and “Meet” have been working for the past few months. “Chat” means you can message individual and small groups, while “rooms” – like their Slack counterparts – are dedicated to large conversations with shared chats, files, and tasks.
It looks like a small bar with four tabs on Android, while the Gmail sidebar on the web is divided into four sections. They are shown by default but can be quickly hidden by clicking on the chevron. Pressing “Chat” will open that conversation in the lower right corner of your screen. Rooms open fullscreen and override the default list of messages. An upcoming feature in the “future” is the ability to make picture-in-picture meat calls in Gmail.
The functionality of these two new tabs is similar to the standalone Google Chat app, in which users can delete a dedicated customer. Next to the search bar, you can now see both “mail and chat” on the web, with the status indicator in the Gmail navigation drawer on mobile. Other changes include updated “outline” icon designs in the web interface.
Today most free personal Google Accounts can launch the new Gmail with chat on both Android and the web. This experience is not yet available for iOS apps. Enterprise accounts require their own login permission. To get started with the Google Store, install the latest version of Gmail from the Play Store “How you may experience bugs and other issues”.
To gain access, you need to enable “initial access” on each of your Android devices and web, as well as Google Accounts. Being active in one does not add a new experience to all your Gmail cases.
How to turn on new Gmail with Chat, Rooms
Android and iOS
- Open Settings (at bottom of nav drawer)
- Tap personal Gmail account
- Under General, select “Chat (Early Access)”
- Click “Try it”
- Gmail app relaunches with tutorial and prompts to turn off notifications from standalone Google Chat app (if installed)
- Visit mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#settings/chat
- Select “Google Chat (Early Access) instead of “Classic Hangouts”
- Confirm pop-up box