G Suite (formerly Google Workspace) customers received a unified Gmail experience in August of last year. Gmail’s interface includes new Google Meet, Chat, and Rooms tabs, making it easier for users to communicate with coworkers and collaborate on projects. Google began rolling out Chat integration in Gmail for personal Google accounts a few months ago, providing users quick access to Google Chat and Rooms via new tabs at the bottom of the Android Gmail app. However, Google only made it available to a small number of customers at the time. The new unified Gmail interface is now available to everyone.
Google confirmed that the unified Gmail interface is currently rolling out to all users in a recent blog post. Google Meet, Chat, and Rooms are now easily accessible from the sidebar, allowing you to start video calls, conversations, or group chats with a single click. The Google Docs integration isn’t as obvious, requiring you to hover your cursor over a Google Docs link in the chat and select “Open in Chat” to open the document in a separate, multipane window within Gmail. Google Chat is on the left, and Google Docs is on the right, in this split-screen layout.
It’s important to note that the Google Docs integration only works with links provided in Chat, not with URLs shared via email. If you open the Chat in a pop-up window, this will also not function, therefore you will have to open Chat in fullscreen to the “Open in Chat” button.
The unified Gmail interface also provides a new widget to specify your Google Chat status. It appears in the right upper corner of the screen and will display your status as “Active.” However, by clicking on the widget, you can change to “Do not disturb” or “Set as away”.
It’s important to note that the unified Gmail interface isn’t turned on by default. You’ll need to go to Gmail’s “Chat and Meet” section and change the “Chat” setting from “Classic Hangouts” to “Google Chat.” If you don’t like the new interface, you may turn it off entirely by setting the “Chat” and “Google Meet” settings to “Hide.”