Google is integrating Google Chat and Google Meet with Gmail, what does that mean for you?
Before we get into it, let’s check some definitions.
- Gmail – Google email client. You can access it from gmail.com, mail.google.com, or with the Gmail smartphone app (iPhone/Android).
- Google Chat – This is Google’s instant messaging service. It is a replacement for texting and can be used for short messages to multiple people. It may be access from Gmail, chat.google.com, the Gmail smartphone app (iPhone/Android), and the Google Chat smartphone app (iPhone/Android).
- Google Meet – Google’s video conferencing system. It may be access from Gmail, chat.google.com, the Gmail smartphone app (iPhone/Android), and the Google Chat smartphone app (iPhone/Android).
- Google Rooms – A feature of Google Chat is the ability to create a room. This room could be for a grade level, for groups, for events & activities, and more. Basically, anytime you need quick, short communications with a multitude of people, you can use a Google Room.
No matter what, I highly recommend using the dedicated Gmail app on your phone.
Advantages of Google Chat
A lot of staff members are using their smartphones to text each other. This is not something you probably want to do. That opens up a whole can of worms for discovery during a lawsuit. Instead, Google Chat is a lot better choice.
Google Chat has two big advantages over texting. You can access Google Chat from any laptop or desktop, no matter what operating system your are running. The service can also be accessed from any iPhone or Android phone. And finally, the biggest advantage, at the end of the day, you can turn off notifications.
Integration into Gmail
Once you are signed in to Gmail, you can look on the left side and see some new options.
Clicking the triangle to the left of each option expands the option. To start a new chat with someone, click the + and type their name. The beauty of this being in Gmail is that you don’t have to worry about whether they have the app or have used Google Chat. As soon as you send them a message, they will get it in the Gmail.
Rooms work the same way, clicking the + lets you create a room and invite people. You can also browse for rooms you have been invited to.
Finally, you can start a Google Meet directly from Gmail. I would not start a Google Meet with students from Gmail. For that, use the Google Meet link in your Google Classroom.
Try it out, create some rooms and invite some friends to it. See what works and what doesn’t work.