Google Chat
Initial releaseMarch 9, 2017; 7 years ago (2017-03-09)
PlatformAndroid, iOS, Web app
PredecessorGoogle Hangouts
TypeCommunication software

Google Chat is a communication service developed by Google. Initially designed for teams and business environments, it has since been made available for general consumers. It provides direct messaging, group conversations, and spaces, which allow users to create and assign tasks and share files in a central place in addition to chatting. It can be accessed through its own website and app or through the Gmail website and app.

It was first launched as Hangouts Chat on March 9, 2017, as one of the two apps to constitute the replacement for Google Hangouts, the other being Google Meet. It was renamed to Google Chat on April 9, 2020. It was initially only available for the Google Workspace software suite, but in February 2021 Google began rolling out Google Chat in "early access" to regular consumer accounts until it became fully available in April 2021. Google deprecated the original Hangouts and replaced it with Chat on November 1, 2022.


Google Chat was first launched as Hangouts Chat on March 9, 2017, for Google Workspace (called G Suite until October 2020[1]) customers only as a replacement for Google Hangouts.[2] All G Suite packages had identical features except for a lack of Vault data retention in the Basic package.[3]

On April 9, 2020, Google rebranded Hangouts Chat to Google Chat. Following this rebranding, and along with a similar change for Hangouts Meet, the Hangouts brand was removed from Google Workspace.[2]

Migration from Hangouts

Google first announced their plan to begin retiring Google Hangouts in October 2019.[4] In October 2020, Google announced that it would open Google Chat up to consumers in 2021. Google also announced that Hangouts conversations, contacts, and history would be migrated over to Google Chat.[5]

Google Chat began to roll out to consumer accounts in "early access" in February 2021,[6][7] but at the time Google stated that Hangouts would remain a consumer-level product for people using standard Google accounts.[8][9][10] By April 2021, Google Chat became fully available for free as an "early access" service, for users who choose to use it instead of Hangouts.[11]

In August 2021, Google started automatically signing out Google Hangouts users on iOS and Android and notifying them to switch to Google Chat.[12]

Google planned to deprecate Google Hangouts and replace it with Google Chat in early 2022.[13] In February 2022, Google announced plans to begin the final migration of all Google Workspace customers from Google Hangouts to Google Chat, which is scheduled to be finalized in May 2022.[14] In September 2022, Google announced all Hangouts data would be deleted by January 1, 2023.[15]


Previous Google Chat logo used until December 2023
The updated UI of the Google Chat app for Android

In December 2023, Google began to roll out a version of Google Chat with a redesigned sidebar and updated the logo. These changes made Google Chat more productive and integrated artificial intelligence into the service.[16][17]


A screenshot of a Google Chat conversation

Google Chat is divided into two sections, chat and spaces. The Chat section contains direct conversations with other people and group conversations. In addition to be able to access Google Chat from its website and app, Google Chat can also be accessed through its integration with the Gmail website and app.[5]

In May 2022, Google announced that Chat would display banners warning users against potential phishing and malware attacks coming from personal accounts. This development for Google Chat was the latest attempt to prevent phishing and security breaches for users.[18]

In July 2023, Google added new features to attain feature parity with other widely used instant messaging. The new chat features include: smart compose (also available in Gmail and Google Docs), editing & deleting of messages for consumer accounts (previously restricted to Google Workspace accounts only), message quoting, read receipts in group chats, text hyperlinking, hiding inactive conversations, ability to add apps from Google Workspace Marketplace for more features.[19]


Not to be confused with Google Spaces.

A screenshot of a Google Chat space

Spaces, originally called Rooms, is a chat room feature built within Google Chat for topic-based collaboration, with shared files, tasks and conversations.[20][21] It functions alongside Google Chat and Google Meet to integrate group productivity features like message threading and real-time collaboration to organize topic-based conversations without exiting Gmail.[22] The feature revives the brand name previously used in a similar standalone service of the same name from 2016 to 2017, with the rebranding occurring as part of the expansion of Google Workspace to all users in 2021.[23][24] Spaces are designed for collaboration on long-term projects. In contrast to spaces, group conversations only support chatting and do not have any task functionality or a separate files tab to view a list of shared files.[25] Spaces also allow users to change the name of the chat, which is not possible with group conversations, and they allow users to only be notified when they are mentioned.[26] Each space has three tabs, a chat tab for chatting, a files tab for sharing files, and a tasks tab for creating and assigning tasks.[26]

The service is accessible from within Gmail alongside Chat and Meet as part of the Google Workspace expansion to all Gmail users.[23] With the relaunch, Spaces allows up to 8,000 users to collaborate on projects and utilize other Workspace features such as creating Google Drive documents and Google Meet meetings from within a Space,[27][24] as well as integration with Task creation and Calendar availability.[28] By the end of 2022, the Spaces team size limit will increase to 25,000.[29] Spaces are discoverable across an organization[30] and a Space's creator is the default manager of the space with the ability to delegate manager status to another user.[31] The move from Rooms to Spaces also brought improvements in moderation and security features.[32][21] In February 2022, Google rolled out a new Gmail interface for Workspace that was designed to better integrate Spaces as well as Chat and Meet.[22][33] Spaces will gain increased functionality because Google Currents was shut down on July 5, 2023.[34]


See also


  1. ^ "Announcing Google Workspace, everything you need to get it done, in one location". Google Cloud Blog. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Statt, Nick (April 9, 2020). "Google is rebranding Hangouts Chat as just Google Chat". The Verge.
  3. ^ "Compare G Suite products - Chat". Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  4. ^ de Looper, Christian (January 23, 2019). "Google will begin shutting down the classic Hangouts app in November 2020". Archived from the original on August 4, 2019. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "The latest on Google Hangouts and the upgrade to Google Chat". Google. October 15, 2020. Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  6. ^ Bradshaw, Kyle (February 10, 2021). "Google Chat readies beta preview for Hangouts users". 9to5Google. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  7. ^ Li, Abner (February 24, 2021). "Google Chat 'preview' starts rolling out to some classic Hangouts users". 9to5Google. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  8. ^ Statt, Nick (April 9, 2020). "Google is rebranding Hangouts Chat as just Google Chat". The Verge. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  9. ^ April 2020, Mike Moore 10 (April 10, 2020). "Google Hangouts officially rebrands as Google Chat". TechRadar. Retrieved March 11, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Smith, Chris (April 10, 2020). "Google's messaging apps just got more confusing: Meet and Chat". BGR. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  11. ^ "New Gmail with Google Chat tabs rolling out for free accounts, here's how to turn on". April 4, 2021. Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  12. ^ Li, Abner (August 6, 2021). "Google signing free users out of Hangouts for iOS, Android as part of 'switch to Chat' prompt". 9to5Google. Retrieved January 19, 2022.
  13. ^ "Google Chat upgrade timeline - Google Workspace Admin Help". Retrieved January 19, 2022.
  14. ^ "Classic Hangouts will be upgraded to Google Chat beginning March 22, 2022". Google Workspace Updates. Retrieved February 26, 2022.
  15. ^ News9 Staff (September 3, 2022). "Google Hangouts will no longer be available starting November: How to download important data". NEWS9LIVE. Retrieved September 6, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ Li, Abner (August 29, 2023). "Google Chat redesign brings new homescreen, audio huddles, and Duet AI". 9to5Google. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  17. ^ "Google Chat: Messaging and Team Collaboration". Google Workspace. Retrieved December 12, 2023.
  18. ^ "Google Chat adds warning banners to protect against phishing attacks". The Verge. May 20, 2022. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  19. ^ "New Google Chat features: smart compose, message editing and more". June 30, 2023.
  20. ^ Adamu, Haroun (February 11, 2022). "Google Spaces will be replacing the last existing remnants of Google+". Android Police. Retrieved June 23, 2022.
  21. ^ a b Hall, Christine (September 8, 2021). "Google Workspace opens up spaces for all users". TechCrunch. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  22. ^ a b Clark, Mitchell (January 31, 2022). "Your work Gmail is about to look different". The Verge. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  23. ^ a b "Google Chat 'Rooms' are now 'Spaces'". Google Workspace Updates. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  24. ^ a b Schroeder, Stan (June 14, 2021). "Google Workspace is now free for everyone". Mashable. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  25. ^ "About spaces and group conversations - Google Chat Help". Retrieved March 22, 2022.
  26. ^ a b "Google Chat: What's the Difference Between Spaces (Rooms) and Group Chat". Nerds Chalk. October 7, 2021. Retrieved March 22, 2022.
  27. ^ a b c d e f "How to Create, Join and Use Google Chat Spaces". All Things How. June 1, 2021. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  28. ^ Andy Wolber (March 10, 2022). "6 ways to track tasks with Google Workspace apps". TechRepublic. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  29. ^ "Announcing new features in Google Workspace for hybrid work". Google Cloud Blog. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  30. ^ "Use Spaces in Google Workspace - Google Workspace Learning Center". Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  31. ^ "Google introduces WhatsApp-like features for Spaces". ARY NEWS. March 2, 2022. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  32. ^ "What's new in Google Workspace for September 2021". FOTC. September 30, 2021. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  33. ^ "Google to Roll Out Gmail's 'Integrated View' Layout on February 8". NDTV Gadgets 360. February 2022. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  34. ^ "Learn about the switch from Google Currents to spaces in Google Chat - Google Chat Help". Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  35. ^ a b c Li, Abner (September 8, 2021). "Google's rename of 'Rooms' in Chat and Gmail to 'Spaces' is now underway". 9to5Google. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  36. ^ Joel Khalili (June 14, 2021). "Google Chat is finally becoming a little more like Slack". TechRadar. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  37. ^ Amadeo, Ron (June 14, 2021). "Google's unified Gmail interface (and Google Chat) launches for everyone". Ars Technica. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  38. ^ "Helping businesses prepare for hybrid work with Google Workspace". Google Cloud Blog. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  39. ^ "Google Chat And Spaces New Features: An Overview". April 28, 2022. Retrieved June 7, 2022.
  40. ^ "Google Workspace Announces Innovations to Bridge Hybrid Work Gaps". Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  41. ^ "Custom emojis coming to Chat". Google Workspace Updates. Retrieved July 27, 2023.
  42. ^ "Quote a previous message in Google Chat". Google Workspace Updates. Retrieved July 27, 2023.
  43. ^ "Expanding Smart replies everywhere you receive messages in Google Chat". Google Workspace Updates. October 12, 2023. Retrieved October 15, 2023.
  44. ^ "See message view counts in Google Chat spaces". August 23, 2023. Retrieved October 15, 2023.

Further reading