Google makes the unified Gmail interface and Google Chat available for everyone
In August last year, Google rolled out a unified Gmail interface for G Suite (now Google Workspace) customers. The interface added new Google Meet, Chat, and Rooms tabs to Gmail, making it easier for users to stay in touch with their colleagues and collaborate on tasks. A few months ago, Google started rolling out Chat integration in Gmail for personal Google accounts, giving users easy access to Google Chat and Rooms with new tabs at the bottom of the Gmail app on Android. However, at the time, Google rolled it out to only a handful of users. Now, the unified Gmail interface is finally rolling out for everyone.
In a recent blog post, Google has confirmed (via ArsTechnica) that the unified Gmail interface is now rolling out to all users. The updated interface gives you easy access to Google Meet, Chat, and Rooms on the sidebar, allowing you to start video calls, chats, or group chats with just a click. The Google Docs integration isn’t as obvious and requires you to mouse over a Google Docs link in the chat and click “Open in Chat” to open the document in a new, multipane interface inside Gmail. The split-screen interface shows Google Chat on the left and Google Docs on the right.
It’s worth noting that the Google Docs integration only works for links shared in Chat, and it doesn’t work in links shared via email. It also doesn’t work if you’ve opened Chat in a pop-up window, so you’ll need to open Chat in a full-screen interface for the “Open in Chat” button to appear.
Additionally, the unified Gmail interface brings another new widget that lets you set your Google Chat status. It appears in the top right corner of the interface and shows your status as “Active” by default with a green dot next to it. However, you can switch to “Do not disturb” or “Set as away” by clicking on the widget.
Do note that the unified Gmail interface isn’t enabled by default. You’ll have to head over to the “Chat and Meet” section of Gmail settings and change the “Chat” setting from “Classic Hangouts” to “Google Chat.” If you don’t like the new interface, you can disable it completely by switching the “Chat” setting to “Off” and the Google Meet setting to “Hide.”