Google is making big changes to the Gmail interface to integrate Google Chat into the email application.
“One thing we’ve heard again and again from our users is how switching between apps interrupts their flow – and their focus,” said Google.
“That’s why in this new integrated experience, we’ve been thoughtful about how to help you work more fluidly.”
“G Suite now intelligently brings together the people, content, and tasks you need to make the most of your time.”
Google Chat was added to the web version of Gmail last month, but will now also be added to Gmail on Android and iOS.
However, the major change announced by Google is the introduction of Google Chat Rooms, which integrates Google Chat more seamlessly into the Gmail interface.
This feature appears to be a direct competitor to popular platforms like Slack and will allow users to share files and tasks instantly.
“With quick access to shared chat, important documents, and to-dos in one place, it’s easier for everyone in a group to stay on the same page,” Google explained.
Alongside the sharing of documents, users will also be able to open and co-edit these files from within the Gmail interface.
“This makes it easier for you to collaborate directly within the context of where you’re doing your work in the moment—so, for example, you can chat about the changes you’re making to a document in real time, or assign a new task (or mark one complete!), without switching between screens,” Google explained.
Users will also be able to use the Gmail search function to search their chat logs, Google said, and will also be introducing the following features:
- Pin important rooms so they’re easier to find and access.
- Set your availability to “Do Not Disturb.”
- Better protect your time with status notices like “Out of office.”
Google is also rolling out new security functionality in the coming weeks that will ensure both Google Chat and Google Meet are more secure.
Google will be extending its current phishing protections that it has already built into Gmail, to Google Chat.
“For example, if a user clicks on a link in Chat, it will be scanned in real-time and flagged if it’s found to contain malicious content,” said Google.
Google Meet will be giving hosts more control over meetings – including who can join or collaborate within them.
These features, which will begin with the consumer and education versions of G Suite, will include:
- Knocking controls: Once an attendee is ejected, they won’t be able to attempt to join the same meeting again by knocking, unless the host re-invites them.
- Safety locks: Hosts can now decide which attendees can chat or present in the meeting.