Google has recently announced modifications to its Workspace suite of apps and services. Formerly known as G Suite, Workspace is now free for all consumer Google accounts using services that include Gmail, Docs, Chat, Drive, Calendar, etc. Google also shared that its latest messaging app, Google Chat, will be available for all consumer accounts. First announced in 2017 as “Hangouts Chat,” Google Chat was exclusive to Google Workspace/GSuite. The tech giant may also draft Google Chat service as a consumer chat app and eventually replace Google Hangouts.
Google Chat is functionally the same as Hangouts. The difference being that Google Chat has more modern clients, and unlike Hangouts, it will keep running for the foreseeable future. The premier shares cross-compatibility with Google Hangouts—your contacts and messages in one app will show up in the other.
Another modification is the rollout of the Gmail interface and a new Google Chat feature called “Spaces.” It seems to update Google Chat’s group chat feature, formerly called “Rooms,” and currently, “Spaces.”
Google’s blog post vaguely mentions that Google Chat Spaces will include “new features like in-line topic threading, presence indicators, custom statuses, expressive reactions, and a collapsible view.” There’s nothing clear as to what is changing and what modifications have been made.
Spaces image shows some changes to the Gmail interface. Google’s blog shows a new Gmail interface with a white content area and gray borders. The sidebar, the top search, settings space, and the right-side panel are all gray.