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Google Chat Gets a New Feature to Help Users Find Out The Most Important Conversations

The new Google Chat feature adds participant avatars for unread threads in the conversation view.

Google Chat Gets a New Feature to Help Users Find Out The Most Important Conversations

Photo Credit: Google

Google Chat was designed to replace Google Hangout’s text messaging functionality

  • The feature is available for all Google account holders
  • The Google Chat participant avatar feature will remain on by default
  • The Google Chat feature will be available on the web, Android, and iOS

Google Chat has received a new feature that is aimed at helping users understand priority conversations without having to read the messages. The new feature makes it easy for users to know the participants in unread threads to gauge what is more relevant to them. Google Chat was developed by the tech giant to replace its older (and now defunct) text messaging and video calling platform Google Hangout. While the text messaging feature went to it, Meet was promoted as the company's sole video-calling platform.

The new update was announced via a post on the Google Workspace blog on Monday, which explained the feature further. In 2023, a feature was added to Google Chat's Spaces, which is what the company calls groups. This feature allowed users to reply to a particular message via in-line reply threads. This was a convenient feature that allowed for separate and more focused discussions without derailing the main conversation. However, there was one challenge.

If a user was returning to Spaces after a break, they would come across multiple threads, not knowing what was being discussed without manually opening them and going through the replies. The new update solves this problem by adding participant avatars to all unread threads to make it more apparent what the discussion is about. Google said, “In order to provide you with more context upfront, you will now see participant avatars for unread threads in the conversation view. Without having to click to open the thread side panel, it will now be much easier to decide which threads to read and reply to.”

This feature will be available to all Google account holders, including Google Workspace customers, Workspace Individual subscribers, and users with personal accounts. The Google Chat feature does not require any admin control (for Workspace users) and will remain on by default. It will also be available on the web, Android, and iOS. The tech giant started its rollout on Monday, but it may take up to two weeks to reach all users.

Recently, Gboard, Google's keyboard app for smartphones, also received a new feature called the "Scan Text" mode that allows users to click a picture of text and insert it into the text field. It uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to extract the text and insert it into Gboard's app.

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Further reading: Google Chat, Google, Google Workspace
Akash Dutta
Akash Dutta is a Senior Sub Editor at Gadgets 360. He is particularly interested in the social impact of technological developments and loves reading about emerging fields such as AI, metaverse, and fediverse. In his free time, he can be seen supporting his favourite football club - Chelsea, watching movies and anime, and sharing passionate opinions on food. More
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