The Gmail app will soon be very different from what you know of it. At least so far. Google says that in the coming weeks, G Suite users will get a more powerful version of the app that includes Gmail, Chat, Rooms and Meet in an attempt to make it a unified app for all Google communication platforms. This follows what Google has been attempting to do over the past few weeks when it integrated Meet into Gmail for iOS, Android and the web as well as integrating Google Chat in Gmail for the web. Google also confirms that Chat will also be integrated in Gmail for all users on Android and iOS as well, soon.
While you may be well versed with Gmail already, Chat, Rooms and Meet might be a bit confusing for those who aren’t already using them extensively. Chat allows you to message individuals or small groups of people. Meet is designed more for larger meetings where people can view and join—much like how Zoom and Microsoft Teams work, for instance. And then there is Rooms, which is more for shared projects with a chat feature integrated.
At the same time, Google says they are enhancing the collaboration features in Chat rooms by adding shared files and tasks. “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. Plus, Chat lets you create rooms that include people outside your company, like contractors or consultants, so your group can be not only cross-functional but also cross-organizational,” says Javier Soltero, Vice President & GM, G Suite at Google.
This may further make the distinction between Chat and Rooms, but Google is clearly attempting to leverage all the tools in its arsenal as it competes with the Microsoft which has the Microsoft 365 suite that includes the Teams communication platform. Google also says that picture-in-picture video calls will soon be a part of Gmail, and Google Meet will soon be integrated will also see integrations with Docs, Sheets and Slides.
Google says this comes based on feedback from users about having to switch between apps to get work done, something they say interrupts the workflow. There will also be the option to enable Do Not Disturb when you are really running short of patience and calmness and also status messages such as “Out of office” to let people know they shouldn’t disturb you at the time.
The changes for G Suite users will be rolled out in the coming weeks, though not much changes for the consumer version of the Gmail app, at least for the time being.