If you’ve been a Google Hangout person, we want to show you how to start using Google Chat. Of course, there are similarities with the one-on-one and group chat features, but there’s so much more you can do with Google Chat, like sharing files and sending messages right to your inbox.
Google Chat makes Google Workspace more user-friendly without having to navigate many applications.
So, let’s see how you can access and start using Google Chat.
Opening Google Chat
Where do we access Google Chat? There are different ways, but the easiest is going through your Google app launcher. Once you click on it, all Google apps, including the Google Chat app, are immediately accessible.
Click on it, and your Google Chat app immediately opens.
You can also download Google Chat as a standalone application on your computer. You’ll get the prompt asking to download it once you access it for the first time through the Google app launcher, and you can then install Google Chat.
Another way to access Google Chat is through Gmail. On Gmail, you can start a new chat with any of your contacts or create a chat room for several contacts. Right from your Gmail, you’ll notice that Google Meet is also connected.
If you prefer to use your phone or mobile device more often, Google Chat can be easily downloaded onto your Android device or iPhone, and it works the same way as it does on your phone.
Remember, you can use Google Chat directly from the web without downloading it, and it works the same way.
Starting a Conversation
Starting a conversation in Google Chat is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is click Start a Chat when you open the app. Once you do that, it opens a box where you can type a person’s name or find it from the list of frequent contacts below.
If your contact is not on the list of frequents list, you can immediately search for it on the search bar, and once you click on the name, you can start sending messages.
If the person is active and online, you’ll see it reflected below the name.
Once you type a chat message to send, all you have to do is click the arrow button adjacent to the message. Alternatively, hit your enter button, and if the recipient is online, the message is received at once.
Using Smart Reply
The Smart Reply feature is similar to smart replies you are already used to in Gmail. It proposes possible replies to conversations so you can reply to your messages quickly and easily. However, you can disable and enable it when you see fit.
To do so, simply go to the Settings icon, and under Smart Reply, you’ll have the option to turn it off or on by the click of a button.
You Can Share More than Just Words
On Google Chat, you can also send more than words. There are many options provided besides the chatbox. There’s a button for emojis, for example. Click on it to reveal multiple emojis to pick from. There’s another button that helps you upload images from your computer and sends them to your contact. There’s another button that allows you to open your Google Drive, from where you can send files.
One interesting button that is also available is the Google Meet button. By simply clicking and sending it, you and your recipient(s) can immediately join a Google meeting without having to send an email.
You can react to a particular previous chat message without altering the messaging. You can simply scroll up to the message and reply with an emoji, for example, and the message would reflect at that exact space on the recipient’s chat.
Chatting with a Specific Person
If you are in a group chat and want to send a message to a person directly, you can activate the add symbol in front of the person’s name. This is particularly helpful in a group conversation.
From your settings, you can ensure you are notified when there’s a message directed towards you in a group chat, so you get it immediately.
Managing Your Chat Status
You can manage your status, which is what people would see if they want to engage with you in a chat. When you click the status button, you can edit it to reflect your preference. For example, you could pick one from the available options: available, away, and do not disturb. You can also add a status by writing what you want your contacts to see once they try to message you.
Starting a Group Chat
Just at the top of your page, beside the names of frequent contacts, you can hit the plus button, and you’ll find an option that says “Start a group conversation.” Once you click on it, it allows you to add multiple contacts to the group.
Once you hit the checkmark, you have a group, and any message sent goes directly to all members added to the group.
Why Create a Room in Google Chat?
Notice that you can create a room just on the left side of your page. But the question is, in group conversations, why use a room and not continue using the chat?
Well, a room is more convenient if members of that group are working on a long-term project. This allows them to share files, chat, and assign tasks, which you can’t do on regular chats. For efficiency when working on a project, the room allows for better management.
It’s very easy to create a room. Simply hit the create a room button, and it opens a box that allows you to name the room appropriately, customize it and click create.
Until now, you’re yet to add anyone to the room. So you can then click add people, and then your room is created.
Chat, Share Files, and Assign Tasks in a Google Chat Room
The three functions that make a room distinct are chat, share files and assign tasks. You can chat with members of your room, and they all receive the messages right in the room.
You can also share files directly with members of the room. Members can easily access all files sent to the room without browsing through their computers.
You can also enable or disable room members from commenting on the room at any time.
To assign tasks to room members, click on tasks and assign a task to a particular person in the room. You also have the option of assigning a deadline with the task through the calendar. Once you set a date and time, select the person(s) and click add.
The person(s) would receive the task, and once the assignment is done or it is done before the deadline, the task notification goes away.
Installing and Using Bots in the Google Chat Room
What are bots, and why are they needed? Bots help make the interaction better. Bots participate in chat rooms and respond to direct messages. What bots do is add more functionality to your chat rooms.
If you click on the plus sign by the room button, there’s a find a bot option. Once you click on it, you’ll find several bots you can use. An example of a bot is Giffy. If you click on Giffy and add it to your room by clicking add, it immediately gets added to the room and gives you instructions on how to use it to improve your chat room experience.
Giffy, for example, produces GIFs, and if you type funny and send, it produces a funny GIF to send to the chat room.
Every bot comes with information on maximizing it, so you don’t need to know how to use them beforehand.
Remember, you can easily add bots from the room page.
Start and Manage Google Meet
Right from your Google Chat, you can start a Google Meet. Just at the bottom left corner, you’ll find Meet with an option to start a new meeting or a reminder of your meetings. You can send invites or get reminders for your meetings.
If you’ve used Google hangout before, you’re in for a smoother, interconnected experience with Google Chat which makes everything easier with Google Meet.
Using Google Chat in Gmail
If you open your Gmail, you’ll find out that all of your conversations on Google chat are accessible on your Gmail in the same format. If you have a chat room, you can also access it via your Gmail account. Just look at the notifications bar on the left, and you’ll find it.
So, from your Gmail, you can manage your Google chat and continue your work seamlessly.
Google Chat is a great addition to Google Workspace, and it makes for greater efficiency at work. If you’re not yet using it, open it up, and enter a world of greater productivity.