What is Hangouts Chat?

Hangouts Chat is a new way to communicate with team members individually or as a group. From direct messages to group conversations in dedicated virtual rooms, Chat helps teams get things done by providing a central place to discuss specific topics.

Hangouts Chat is more structured than direct chat and more immediate than email. In one place, you can:

  • Easily work with other G Suite apps. Upload items from Drive, collaborate on Docs, Sheets or Slides, join online meetings with Hangouts Meet, or use Google’s powerful search to look up room members, past conversations and shared files.
  • Use artificial intelligence to speed up workflows. When your teams collaborate in Chat, you can speed up manual work, like searching for files and more using artificial intelligence.
  • Collaborate with colleagues around the globe. Chat currently supports 28 languages and each room can support up to 8,000 members. It’s available on desktop for Windows and MacOS, as well as iOS and Android so you can easily collaborate on the go.
  • Switch devices and pick up the conversation on the go. For example, you can start a conversation on your computer and continue it on your mobile phone, right where you left off.
  • Have peace of mind with embedded security. Chat builds on G Suite’s security-first ecosystem and offers an enterprise-grade solution that’s reliable and compliant.


How will this interact with the older version of Hangouts, the one that lives in my Gmail?

To help make your Chat experience seamless, classic Hangouts will still be available and is compatible with Hangouts Chat. Hangouts video calling is deprecated and fully replaced by Hangouts Meet.

How do I get started?

To use Hangouts Chat:

  1. Go to https://chat.google.com, or by clicking the Hangouts Chat icon in the G Suite app launcher.
  2. Install the Hangouts Chat app, available for Android and IOS, at https://get.google.com/chat/.

Note: The Hangouts Chat desktop application for Windows and Mac currently does not work with G Suite accounts, including UAlberta G Suite accounts. Google is working to resolve this issue. More information will be provided once available.

Rooms vs. group messages

You can use Hangouts Chat to communicate in two ways:

  1. Have a private group conversation. Use a direct message to communicate with a colleague or small group of people.
  2. Start a conversation in a room. Use a room to have an ongoing conversation with your team or a group of people that can change over time. All members can see the conversation history so they won't miss what was already discussed. Rooms can have multiple threads, called conversations, to discuss different topics within the same room.

To help you decide which to use, this table describes the differences between group messages and rooms.

  Group Messages Rooms
Who Can Chat After starting the chat, can't add or remove anyone Can add and remove anyone at any time
Conversations Single unthreaded conversation Multiple, threaded conversations
Message History History can be turned off (messages removed in 24 hours) or turned on (messages follow your organization's retention policy), subject to the admin's settings Message history is on, and messages are retained according to your organization's policy
Name List of other members' names, e.g. "Brenden, Ann, Rosa" Room creator chooses name, e.g. "Marketing chat"
Notifications Users are notified for every message Users are notified for conversations they're in, or when @mentioned
Leaving Users can't leave, but can hide the chat in the sidebar Users can leave and rejoin
Multiple with Same Users Can't have two group messages with same set of people Can have two or more rooms with same set of people
Bots Bots can't be included Anyone can add a bot


Where can I get more information?

Visit the Hangouts Chat Learning Center and Help Center.

Learn more about G Suite updates at the University of Alberta by visiting the Email & Calendaring page.

If you have any issues, please contact IST at ist@ualberta.ca or 780-492-9400.

Posted by Sheena Moore