Google has slowly been adding new shortcuts and integrations to other services into Gmail. As the company realigns its app strategy, this maneuver makes a more consistent experience across Android, Web, and iOS. The latest addition to this movement is Google Chat.

What’s Chat?

Let’s revisit Chat before we go any further. Google Chat, in short, is the replacement for Hangouts internet messaging. The Chat app started as strictly an enterprise offering with G Suite (now called Workspace). But as more and more people were searching for similar services, Google decided to replace the consumer app Hangouts with Chat as well.

Why do I want it in Gmail?

Having the Chat functionality baked into the Gmail app has been a great consolidation for me as a casual user. I use Chat regularly but only with one contact. Having the app take up storage and screen real estate was always questionable. Now just being to have the exact same experience inside Gmail is awesome.

How to turn on Chat for Gmail

With just a few steps in Gmail you can have Google Chat ready to roll. For what it’s worth, this works in both Android and iOS.

  • Open Gmail
  • Tap the hamburger menu in the top left
  • Select Settings
  • Find the email account you’d like to use Chat with
  • Click the checkbox for the menu item for Chat (Early Access)

Time to Chat

That’s it. You’re now able to use Google Chat from inside Gmail. Interactions and notifications will act just like the dedicated Google Chat app. Instead of an extra installation, Chat simply lives in a tab at the bottom of the Gmail app.

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