How to get started with Google chat?

Getting rebranded and revamped, Google chat (formerly known as hangouts chat) includes more functionalities than its older version.

The thing many people don’t know is Google chat was formerly released as hangouts chat. But it has rebranded and got a lot of brand new features in 2020.

Google chat is a Google workspace integration you can use to simply chat with friends, colleagues, and whoever you want. It just requires a google account to start using google chat.

It has the simplest interface you can expect from such an instant messaging application. That’s what people love about google integrations.

Earlier when it was hangouts chat, there was no video calling option. At that time, people have to use slack or any other application to fulfill their needs.

But the brand new Google chat is distinct as you can make video calls, create rooms, assign tasks, and so on with Google chat.

If you are looking for a simple instant messaging app to organize your team and contact new people, you can use Google chat. In this article, you are going to learn about how to get started with Google chat.


How to install Google chat on your device?

To get started with Google chat, you have to install the application on your device. Google chat has great device accessibility. You can use it on your smartphone, computer, and laptop.

So, what device you are using. Here are the details for both computer and smartphone users.

Desktop install

You can easily get to use Google chat on your desktop and play your role in group conversations precisely. It has a standalone application you can install and run from your computer.

It also has a browser extension that you can install and run Google chat from your desktop browser.

To install the standalone application, go to Google chat and sign in with your account. When sign in complete and the interface is open, a pop-up will appear in the upper right corner of the window including ‘try the chat desktop app’.

You can see the ‘install’ button, click it to install the Google chat standalone app on your PC.

Another way to use Google chat on a PC is by installing the browser extension. To find the extension, you can go to the chrome web store and search for it. When you find it, simply install it and get started to use Google chat.

Mobile install

If you are an android smartphone user, you can easily find the Google chat application on the play store. And if you are using iOS, you should go to the app store and find Google chat.

Google chat features

Google chat’s main feature is instant messaging. You can start a conversation with anyone you connect with via google chat. You can create conversation groups, create rooms for a personal conversation.

When you install Google chat on your device, you can instantly send messages to group or room members. You must have a Google account to sign in to Google chat.

After signing in, you will have all the Google workspace contacts available here and you can initially start a conversation with them. To find any specific contact, there is the search bar, you can search the contact here with name.

You can see all the added contacts in the people section. If you have a chat with anyone, it will also be visible in the people section.

Google chat features

Create rooms inside Google chat

Room is a newly added feature in Google chat. It’s a similar function to Slack’s channel and Skype’s ‘group chat’.

 It allows the creation of a virtual place where teams can discuss specific things, assign tasks and complete jointly and collaborate on group works. You can give a specific name to your room.

In a room, members can share files, talk to each other, mention using @, and start video conferences with all the group members. Room enables thread which includes threaded and unthreaded messages.

Thread helps to discuss frankly any topics in the room. Anyone in the room can start a thread about any topic and the other room members will answer it.

As a room member, you have control over notifications and history, and either you stay or leave the room at any time. Click on the three dots beside the room name, and you will get a list to adjust things as you wish.

Google chatbots

Google chat room bot feature is only available to google workspace or school accounts. So, if you are a free user, you can’t get bots in google chat.

Bots are so helpful, mainly bots are automatically generated accounts in which you can chat, add group conversations and rooms. Besides, bots are designed to enhance your google chat experience.

Bot work like add-ons for google chat. Each bot is designed for different purposes such as you can find flights, creating polls on rooms, booking meetings, and so on with chatbots.

These chatbots are implemented by both Google and third-party vendors. Meet and google drive bots are maintained by google while others are maintained by their developer.

To find bots and add them in person-to-person or group conversations, open the application in mobile. Then tap chat > New chat > message a bot > enter a bot name or select suggestion > click Ok.

On the computer, click Start a chat > find a bot. You can add both to 1:1 and group conversation also.

Video meetings on chat

Video meeting conferences are made available in google chat by google meet integration. However, it is so necessary for modern applications to allow video calling and conferencing.

When google chat was hangouts chats, it didn’t have an option for video calling. But now, you can execute video-conferencing between room members and others from Google chat.

With google meet integration, you can instantly create video calls with anyone in your contact. There is a google meet icon on the chat interface, click on it to organize video meetings.

Share files

You can share files from your computer or Google Drive while chatting with others. In the chat box, there are two options which are ‘upload file’ and ‘Add google drive file’. You can upload files from your computer or mobile through the ‘Upload file’ option and you can get access to google drive to upload files by clicking on the google drive icon.

You can attach files up to 200 MB from your computer, mobile device, or Google Drive directly to Google Chat messages.

Collaborate in google chat

Google chat enables real-time collaboration where group members can collaborate on google docs files, sheets. When files are shared on chat, it opens in the chat window. You can chat while collaborating together.

Format your chat messages

In google chat, you can format chat messages in italic, bold, etc. there is no particular bold/italic option in google chat. But you can still do this by including special characters in the text.

For instance, you can bold text by including asterisks (*) before and after the text you want to bold. To format as italic, add underscore (_) in the same way. If you want to strike out a word, add tildes (~). To create an inline code block, add backticks ` and to create a multiline code block, add three backticks “`.

Format your chat messages

Control chat history

Chat history is necessary for some group discussions for future references. It also helps to keep a record of important messages like instructions or others.

Google gives you control over chat history so you can decide to keep it or not. But this is only for the administrator account. the administrator has to go to the admin console to set up chat history settings.

An administrator can turn on/off chat history settings. When it is on, all the messages will be retained in a vault. And if it is off, messages will be deleted after 24 hours. Also, an administrator can let users change their history settings if they check out the ‘Allow users to change their history’ setting.

Manage notifications

Just like a messaging application, google chat sends a notification to users for every message that comes in chat. For every new message and mention, google chat notifies the users by sending push-notifications on both web and mobile.

However, if you don’t open and respond to the chat app for 12 hours, it will send you the mail with all of the unseen notifications.

If you don’t like receiving notifications in this way, you can turn off all the notifications. Go to the settings option and simply turn it off allowing notification. You can turn off email notifications also.

Manage notifications

Search bar

And there is a search bar to less your effort and quickly find any older messages, data, media, and files in google chat. The search bar is above the interface. You can simply search by typing what you want to find. You can also search for images, videos, links, and any kind of attached files through the search bar.

search bar to less your effort

When you use a search bar staying in a specific room or conversation, the search conducts only the messages on that. You can choose ‘All rooms and the direct message’ if you want to run the search overall.

Wrapping up

Although Google Chat is not as feature-rich as other popular apps in the industry, Google continuously updates all the applications. When you are a google chat user and you also have a workspace account, you can easily manage personal and official requirements with google integrations.

In my opinion, google chat is perfect for small groups, business teams, and offices for instant sharing ideas, communication, and collaboration. They can arrange virtual conferences with up to 250 participants in it.

Besides, there are a lot more things available at the nominal workspace monthly subscription price that you must consider about google chat.

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