What is Google Chat?

Google Chat is a web-based messaging service. Users can send text, photos, animated gifs, videos and files to individuals and groups. It also supports Spaces, a threaded group chat designed for collaboration.



What is Google Chat for?

Google Chat is used to send messages on the web. It requires an internet connection to use, as SMS/MMS text messaging is not supported. It supports two forms of messages: direct messages and spaces.


A private message sends text or media directly to one or more recipients on Google Chat. Recipients can view the message and send a reply. This is similar to dozens of other messaging services like Apple’s iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat.


Google Chat also supports spaces, which work more like a chat room. Spaces provide dedicated tabs for files and tasks shared by participants. They also support threaded conversations, which means participants can reply to specific messages instead of sending messages to all participants. Spaces is similar to enterprise messaging services like Slack and Microsoft Teams.





How is Google Chat different from Google Hangouts?

Google Hangouts is a discontinued messaging service. Released in 2013, Hangouts was Google’s main webmail service for several years. It was available as an app for Android and iPhone. PC and macOS users can access it through a web app or in Gmail.


Hangouts supported a wide range of features. It could be used not only for web messaging, including text, photos, and video, but also for making phone calls, texting, and hosting video conferences.


Google Chat is more limited, as it only focuses on webmail. Chat does not support SMS/MMS and does not support video chat or video conferencing.



How is Google Chat different from Google Meet?

Google Chat supports webmail, but does not support video conferencing. This feature is instead found in Google Meet, a real-time video communication service launched in 2017.


Google Meet is similar to video communication services such as Zoom and Skype. It supports video conferences with multiple participants. It can also be used to host live presentations where most participants are muted.


Although Google Chat does not have video conferencing, it does include a button that sends users to a video conference in Google Meet. This feature, if used, will launch Google Meet in a new browser window (on PC and macOS) or app (on most mobile devices).



How is Google Chat different from Gmail?

Google Chat is a webmail service, while Gmail is an email service. Both send messages over the Internet, but the way they do it differs.


Google Chat users can send messages to other Google Chat users, and messages can be viewed in the Google Chat mobile or web app. It is not possible to send, receive, reply to or view Google Chat messages outside of the service.


An email sent through Gmail can be sent to any email address and viewed in any email service or application. Gmail users can export their entire inbox and open it in another app or email service if they want.


Google Chat can be used in Gmail when accessed through a web browser. It may not currently appear for all users, but will become the default when Google shuts down Hangouts in November 2022.





Google has had many email services

Google has a long and confusing history of webmail services, but is now trying to put all of its efforts behind Google Chat and Google Meet. Google Chat is now the best way to chat with other Google users on the web.


FAQs

  • What does “inactive” mean in Google Chat?

    “Inactive” is one of the statuses in Google Chat; the others are Active, Do Not Disturb, and Away. Unlike other statuses, this is automatic. You become “idle” when you haven’t done anything in Chat or Gmail for at least five minutes.

  • How to chat in Google Docs?

    You can chat in Google Docs with at least two users who can view or edit them. To start a conversation, select Show conversation in the upper right corner, which resembles the silhouette of a person with a chat bubble next to it.