Google Chat

Google Chat: Everything You Need to Know in 2024

Discover Google Chat, an integral part of Google Workspace.
Google Chat

Google Chat is Google Workspace's instant messaging tool, which enables business communications with colleagues similar to Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Mattermost.

Let's dive into Google Chat's features, pricing, integrations, and everything else you need to know to determine if this powerful collaboration tool is the right fit for your organization.

What is Google Chat?

Google Chat is a secure communications tool designed to provide easy business communications within the Google Workspace ecosystem.

With Google Chat, teams collaborate via text, build collaborative chat rooms, share documents, deliver presentations, and establish web conferences.

In this post, we look at the following:

  1. Collaboration options from Google
  2. Google Chat pricing
  3. Google Chat integrations
  4. Is Google Chat right for your organization?

Collaboration Options from Google

When it comes to team collaboration, Google has several important apps in its ecosystem. Here’s a breakdown of how each works.

1 – Google Chat

Google Chat was called Hangouts Chat and worked as a more business-oriented version of the consumer Hangouts. Google Chat expands on the features of the standard version of Hangouts by adding a plethora of team collaboration features and integrations.

Google Chat

How do I use Google Chat?

Google Chat is easily accessible in Google Workspace. To access it, use the Google app launcher button in any Workspace application.

The app launcher appears as a gridded set of dots along the upper right-hand side of your screen.

Click this grid, and a series of apps, including Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, and Drive, will appear.

Once selected, a list of people that you can chat with will be populated along the left side of the screen.

It’ll also provide you with data like presence information and whether specific colleagues are online. Click on the name to begin a conversation. Type in the intended message and click the send button, which is shaped like a triangle, to send.

Google Chat has some handy functions. The software uses predictive text options to automate replies. For example, if a coworker says, “Good afternoon,” Google will provide you a list of appropriate answers like, “Hello, how are you?”

Once a chat is established, you share spreadsheets and documents from Google Drive. Any participant will then be able to access the file via Google Docs.

Additionally, adding things like video meeting links is done very quickly through the chat UI. Once placed in chat, Google Chat will provide a clickable meeting for colleagues to use.

How do I get the Google Chat app?

If you'd like to use Google Chat on your desktop, you can also download the Google Chat app for a native experience separate from your browser.

To install the Google Chat app, follow these instructions.

  1. Sign in to Google Chat.
  2. Upon first using Google Chat, a pop up will appear with an option to download the desktop app.

Click here for additional download tips or troubleshooting.

Is Google Hangouts still working?

For those wondering if Google hangouts is still a thing, the answer is unfortunately not.

In 2022, Google announced that Google Hangouts would cease to be operational. The good news, however, is that users can use Google Chat and Google Meet to communicate via messaging and video.

According to Google,

"Google Chat is an intelligent communication app for teams that takes direct messaging in Google Hangouts and evolves it to reflect the way modern teams talk business.”

Google Chat is the next evolution of Hangouts. It grants that same one-on-one communication but expands on it to be more effective in a business setting.

Important features available in Hangouts like read receipts, video and audio conferencing, and image sharing are all available through Chat.  

In addition, more robust, collaboration-friendly features also come standard.

These include:

  • Spaces, direct messages, and group chats: Users can collaborate on every level, from 1:1 direct messages to company or team-wide spaces (the equivalent of channels in Microsoft Teams or Slack). Messaging features available include message threads for those looking to delegate individual tasks to specific team members, file collaboration, emojis, reactions, and everything else you would expect from a modern messaging platform.
  • Larger Video Chat Capacities: With Hangouts, you were limited to 10 attendees, but Chat expands this thanks to its paid structure. With Chat, you’ll have a max of 250 participants for any video chat.
  • Google Meet Integration: This is probably one of the better features of Chat. When you want to set up a meeting, you simply tag Google Meet with the meeting attendees. After that, you only need to mention the proposed meeting date, and the calendar appointment is automatically created.

2 – Google Meet

Video meetings technically aren’t native to Google Chat.

In fact, the core functionality is simple business chatting.

Google Meet

Still, integration with Google’s meeting solution, Google Meet, is so well integrated into Chat that you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was all the same program.

Google Meet is still its own solution that provides you with the ability to hold HD video conferences and presentations.

Since this is integrated into Google Workspace, as long as you are within the Google ecosystem, it’s easy to start or schedule a meeting.

In fact, in most cases, you’ll have to share a link, so there’s no need for extra plugins, downloads, or any extra steps.

The software is also natively accessible when users are signed in on Chrome. With Meet, you can even share single tabs from the Chrome browser when you’re holding a presentation.

One of the newer features of Google Meet includes the ability to blur your background. This allows you to hold meetings where objects in the background won’t provide any unneeded distractions.

You can also add a virtual background to replace your own background with something more formal or fun.

Meet also has Google Jamboard integration, where you and your team brainstorm using a digital whiteboard.

4 – Google Workspace

Previously known as G Suite, Google's collection of workplace tools was rebranded as Google Workplace in Q3 2020. If you have a business email managed through Google, you are a Workspace customer.

In fact, Workspace has more than two billion monthly users – according to Google.

Workspace is designed to bring Google’s entire ecosystem of productivity and workflow apps under a single banner.

All apps are accessible from any Google-related software. This provides a unified experience for anyone looking to streamline processes and limit switching between tabs and applications.

With Workspace, @mentioning someone in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides will provide you with multiple methods to contact that colleague. This includes standard chat, video meetings, and email.

Workspace also bakes in search, which is something you might expect from a Google product. You can filter by project, team member, or app, and it displays results in real-time as you type.

Google Chat pricing

Google Chat, as a component of Google Workspace, is available in all pricing tiers of the parent product.

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect as pricing for Workspace:

 Business StarterBusiness StandardBusiness PlusEnterprise
Monthly Price per user$6 USD$12 USD$18 USDPricing not published (Google Sales)
Storage30 GB storage per user2 TB storage per user5 TB storage per userUnlimited
Video Meetings100 participants150 participants250 participants250 participants

Google Chat integrations

As a product included in Google Workspace, there are several integrations included with Google Chat.

For example, out of the box, the software automatically integrates with solutions like Gmail, Google Forms, Google Calendar, Google Meet, Google Drive, and Google Docs.

Integrations with Google Chat

This is designed to reduce task-switching and to create an integrated workspace. With it, you can chat on one side of your screen and video conference on another – all in the same window.

In addition to these out-of-the-box integrations, Chat also will integrate with the popular third-party solutions that your company is using.

For example, there are several REST APIs that developers can use to integrate apps with a user’s mail, calendars, and contacts.

Don’t like Google Calendar? G Suite Sync will allow you to sync your calendar information with Microsoft Outlook.

This is convenient for businesses making the switchover from a Microsoft-based system to a Google-based one.

Is Google Chat right for your organization?

Google Chat is software that streamlines the way your teams communicate.

It’s simple to share information and documents and collaborate with hundreds of colleagues.

It’s an inexpensive option, especially if you’re already a Workspace subscriber.

Keep in mind that using the low-code app development options will increase the price somewhat for those looking to add integrations.

Google has also been expanding features to make it more comparable to industry leaders.

Features like linked previews in various Workplace apps and real-time collaboration on documents within chat rooms, which are features that have been recently announced, will go far towards this goal.

Now is an excellent time to be a Workspace subscriber.

But what if your enterprise already uses other chat platforms, such as Microsoft Teams and Slack? Is a migration the only way to adopt Google Chat?

You'll be excited to hear that Mio provides native interoperability support between Google Chat and Microsoft Teams or Slack.

Click here to learn more about Mio today.

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