The Gmail app for the Apple iPhone and Android phones is receiving its biggest update in years. And no, it isn’t some visual overhaul either. If you are using the Gmail app on your Apple iPhone (we are sure you are, who doesn’t), you can now enable the Google Chat app integration within the Gmail app, and it’ll now sit alongside Mail, Meet and Rooms which are already a part of the Gmail app. The Chat messaging app, till now, was only available for Google Workspace users, but is now rolling out for personal accounts as well. That means the Gmail app on the iPhone and iPad will now have four tabs at the bottom of the interface—Gmail, Chat, Meet and Rooms. At News18, we we can now confirm that you enable the Chat option in the Gmail app on the iPhone as well as Android phones. The Chat rollout means Google is one step closer to replacing the erstwhile Hangouts app.
To enable the Chat functionality in the Gmail app on your Apple iPhone or Android phone for that matter, here is what you need to do. First up, ensure that you are running the latest version of the Gmail app—check and download from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store respectively, for iPhone and Android. Now, open the Gmail app and tap on the sandwich menu on the top left of the screen. This opens a sidebar of options. Scroll down to Settings > select your personal Google account from here. Now, you’ll see an option labelled “Chat (early access) > toggle the option to green to enable. Now restart the Gmail app and you’ll see four tabs at the bottom of the screen, with Chat being the newest addition.
For Workspace accounts, Chat and Meet are expected to be competition for rival video meeting and instant messaging platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Slack. For personal Gmail accounts, Chat integration should, Google would hope, revive the dormant Hangouts users and help push this as competition for the likes of the Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Telegram and Signal. Within the Google Chat interface, you’ll be able to share media and photos, have Google Drive access to share files, switch to Google Meet directly for a video chat and even schedule a meeting with the Google Calendar access. The expanded Gmail app functionality also means users would not have to switch between different apps for Gmail, Chat, Meet and Rooms.
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