Google recently revealed an all-new redesign for its workplace messaging platform Google Chat. The refreshed Chat experience features UI improvements, new tabs, reorganized navigation, and subtle visual updates.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Google Chat redesign including:
- A summary of the key changes and new features
- Details on the redesigned Home and Discover tabs
- How the new Mentions and Rooms tabs improve workflows
- Interface improvements like the updated chat list
- Visual changes including new icons and themes
- A hands-on tour of the redesign in Google’s Workspace suite
- Google’s motivations behind modernizing Chat
- Tips for navigating the changes as a user
- When and how you can preview the redesign early
- How Chat integrates with Google’s broader workspace vision
- Thoughts on the future direction of Chat
For Google Workspace users, the Chat makeover promises a more refined and productive messaging experience. Let’s examine how Google plans to keep its Chat platform fresh, intuitive, and competitive.
Key Changes and New Features Summary
At a high level, notable changes in Google’s Chat redesign include:
- A redesigned left-side menu with new tabs
- Customizable Home and Discover tabs
- Dedicated Rooms and Mentions tabs
- A collapsible left rail to focus on chats
- Interface refinements like rounded profile photos
- Subtle visual updates like background themes
- New Chat icon reflecting Google’s latest iconography
Let’s explore the most important updates for users in more detail.
Redesigned Home and Discover Tabs
The Home and Discover tabs now anchor the left-side Chat navigation menu:
The new Home tab provides quick access to your starred conversations, incoming messages, and chat participants. It replaces the previous Overview tab.
This tab helps you easily initiate new chats and discover Rooms based on recommendations or browsing topics.
Both tabs are customizable, allowing you to prioritize key conversations for easy access. Overall, the changes focus on optimizing initiating and managing chats.
New Mentions and Rooms Tabs
Two other notable new tabs added in the redesign are:
This tab conveniently aggregates all chat messages that directly mention you, notified by @. Mentions lets you quickly catch important requests.
Rooms contains public, topic-based chat spaces users can join. This provides visibility into communal Rooms separate from your direct messages.
These tabs make managing mentions and public rooms simpler from the main left-side menu.
Refined Chat List Interface
Navigating ongoing chats also benefits from interface refinements:
- Rounded profile pictures reflect Google’s modern design language
- Text scaling, spacing, and font choices improve readability
- Collapsible left rail maximizes chat screen space
- Colorful themes allow customizing based on preference
The changes may seem subtle, but greatly boost usability.
Visual Updates Like New Chat Icon
Visually, Google’s new Chat icon leads the refresh:
- Bubble-style icon matches Google’s other workspace apps
- Multi-color design evokes fun messaging
- Shadow grounding effect is modern and dimensional
Other visual enhancements include:
- Background color theming options for personalization
- Matching wallpaper colors across Google Workspace apps
- Animated transitions between tabs and views
The vibrant icon and touches of flair echo Chat’s friendly personality.
Hands-On Tour of the Redesign in Google Workspace
Seeing the redesign in action showcases how the updates improve daily workflows:
- The Home tab offers one-click access to my most active DMs.
- Mentions neatly groups all chat references for quick catch-up.
- Discover lets me browse Rooms to join across diverse topics.
- Custom themes let me accentuate personal style.
- Collapsing the side rail maximizes chat screen space.
- Rounded avatars and crisp type create visual harmony.
Test driving the changes yourself highlights Google’s focus on efficiency.
Why Google Felt Chat Needed a Refresh
Google’s messaging strategy has evolved, necessitating a Chat glow-up:
- Maintain fierce competition with workplace messaging rivals like Slack and Microsoft Teams.
- Showcase Chat alongside Gmail as a core communication tool within Google Workspace.
- Familiarize users with functionality through cleaner navigation and tutorials.
- Spotlight useful but overlooked features like Rooms.
- Visually align Chat’s appearance with modern Google branding.
- Add small quality-of-life improvements requested by customers.
- Keep pace with contemporary UI trends around fluidity and responsiveness.
This major redesign represents a vote of confidence in Chat’s strategic importance for Google Workspace.
Adapting to the Redesign as a User
Like any interface overhaul, the Chat update requires a bit of orientation:
- Use Discover to refamiliarize yourself with buried tools.
- Bookmark key conversations in Home.
- Try light vs dark themes.
- Play with collapsing the left rail.
- Scan the new Mentions tab.
- Join new Rooms from Discover.
The changes aim to boost productivity, but may require tweaking workflows. Embrace experimentation!
Trying the New Chat Early
Google rolls out redesigns gradually, but you can preview the changes early via:
- Enrolling in the Google Workspace early adopter program
- Manually enabling “Chat Preview” in Google Workspace settings
- Using Google Chat mobile apps, which enable previews
If participating in previews, be sure to submit feedback to Google through prompts or forums. Your input will help drive iterations.
Integrating With Google’s Broader Workspace Strategy
The Chat makeover doesn’t exist in isolation. Rather, it supports Google’s broader vision for Workspace:
- Creates design unity with Gmail, Drive, Docs, and Calendar.
- Helps elevate Chat as the central communications hub within Workspace.
- Provides an intuitive and competitive messaging platform across devices.
- Familiarizes consumers with Chat via Google Account integration.
- Showcases Google’s continued investment in modernizing Workspace.
For Google, the long-term dream is frictionless workflow across Chat, email, files, and meetings aided by AI.
What’s Next for the Evolution of Google Chat?
Looking ahead, Google is likely to build on the redesign’s foundations by:
- Streamlining workflows further with AI automation
- Integrating messaging more tightly with business data
- Adding functionality parity across mobile, web, and desktop
- Enabling deeper customization and theming
- Linking DMs and group conversations for unified messaging
- Expanding externally to better compete with rival platforms
- Hosting Chat natively within common business tools
- Improving accessibility with screen reader and translation support
Google rarely rests on laurels – we can expect Chat’s metamorphosis to continue!
Google’s sweeping Google Chat redesign brings overdue revitalization to the messaging platform with substantial yet intuitive changes. From the customizable tabs to visual refresh, the updates promise streamlined communication and collaboration.
Of course, relearning any interface takes time for users. But enhancements like consolidated mentions and topics justify investment to enhance productivity and teamwork.
Looking beyond the new coat of paint, Google’s ongoing emphasis on modernizing Chat signals its position as a cornerstone of integrated workspace communication alongside email.
With smart iteration, Google is determined to keep Chat a compelling alternative against rival platforms. Because in work and life, maintaining conversations means continually improving connections.