Use Spaces instead if your company uses Google Workspace and you asked me to suggest a team chat tool.
At one point, I would have suggested Slack.As a multiplatform group chat app that supported threaded conversations, shared links, and conversation search, Slack was an excellent choice for many applications.
However, toward the end of 2022, Slack, which is now owned by Salesforce, altered the terms of its offerings and not only raised prices but also placed a paywall on all chats older than 90 days. This meant, for instance, that a teacher and students who might have used the free version of Slack for a class would no longer have access to chats beginning at the beginning of the course and continuing through the conclusion of a typical semester.
Fortunately, by that time, Google Chat Spaces, a core offering of Google Workspace, had developed into a full-featured chat app with support for @mentions to bring people into a discussion and inline discussion threading, file and task sharing, and support for multiple platforms.Even better, many workplace and school editions of Workspace offer support for discoverable Spaces, which enable members of the organization to locate and participate in discussions. When looking for an organizational chat app, an organization that uses Google Workspace should first look into Google Chat Spaces.The core capabilities of Google Chat Spaces are broken down into four categories below.
You can access Google Chat spaces in Gmail.
Google Chat Spaces are prominently featured in the modern design of Gmail, both on the web and in the mobile apps.
Spaces can be accessed from the left-side menu, located between Chat and Meet, when using Gmail online (Figure A)
Tap on Spaces in the bottom menu of the Android and Apple Gmail apps, again between Chat and Meet.To collaborate on various team discussions and tasks, you don’t have to switch tabs or apps because you can access Google Chat Spaces quickly within Gmail.Google Chat rooms accommodate both internal and external users.
Create a separate room for each important project with which you and your team members must discuss it.
Figure B shows how to add members, give colleagues in your organization access to the space, and, if necessary, add people from outside your organization. Make a space where anyone in your company can find you if you want.Google Chat Spaces that are easy to find can be your organization’s main information and discussion hub.
Google Chat Spaces can be managed by a Google Workspace administrator in an organization.
For instance, the administrator might decide whether members of the organization can join or create Spaces with members of other organizations. Additionally, an administrator has the ability to define target audiences and set default access levels, such as discoverable or restricted, as well as suggested user sets for people who share a space. Go to the Admin console > Apps > Google Workspace > Google Chat settings to access these settings, and then look over the various options that are available.Visits will probably be the most-involved part of room for yourself as well as your group.
Google Chat Spaces supports threaded-chat, in which a reply to a particular message maintains a coherent threaded conversation that is simpler to comprehend.
Figure C, box in the lower right, shows that GIFs and emoji reactions are also supported in Google Chat Spaces.Additionally, there is a separate section for files and tasks in each space.
Space tasks can be a great way to keep track of your team’s progress:When a space member completes a task, they can mark it as completed. When you transfer a file to a space (see Figure C), the system will prompt you to select a level of access that is appropriate for the shared file.You could, for instance, permit contributors or editors to comment as you add any item from Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides to a space.
When you need to meet with the people in your Google Chat Space, you’ll also find links to send an invitation to your Google Calendar and start a Google Meet video conference. However, search is one of the best reasons Google Chat Spaces should be used as your organization’s chat channel app.
When you conduct a search in Gmail, for instance, a variety of filtering and selection options (Figure D) appear to assist you in narrowing down the results across all of your email, chat, space, and Google Chat Spaces messages.
You can find a conversation in Gmail, Google Chat, or Spaces using Gmail search. If you keep all of your conversations within the Google.
Workspace system, it will be much simpler for future searches to retrieve and refer to conversations.How have you found it?Is Google Chat Spaces the chat channel app for your company if you use Google Workspace, or do you use a third-party alternative like Slack, Mattermost, or Twist?Do you appreciate how well Spaces integrates with Gmail, search, Drive, and Calendar?Let me know how you use Google Chat Spaces in your organization by mentioning it or sending me a message on Twitter (@awolber).