google chat post header

Google Chat and Spaces

Google Chat is an easy way to communicate across campus but there are some hidden features that can make it even more useful. Let’s dive into Chat and see how it can work for you.

schematic of Google Chat parent app with Chat and Spaces beneath

Chat and Spaces

The main Google App is called Google Chat. Then the 2 main pieces of Google Chat are Chat and Spaces which can be a little confusing.

Chat is for individual chat. Usually with just 2 or 3 people.

Spaces is for group chats. It is more robust with more permission and setup options.

Both are amazing campus communication tools and we suggest you explore each to see what works best for your purposes.

Adding Chat to the Gmail sidebar

If Chat is not already included in your Gmail layout, you can turn it on in Settings.

  • From Gmail, click the Settings cog
  • In the Chat and Meet section, click Customize
  • Select the checkbox next to Google Chat
  • Click done
Gmail quick setting screenshot
screenshot of popup selection box for Chat and Meet

Chat and Spaces options are now available in the in the Gmail interface in the left sidebar. The same steps can be used to turn Chat off at any time.

Setting up Chat

To start a new Chat

  1. Click the Chat icon from the Gmail interface
  2. Click New Chat
  3. Enter 1 or more email addresses to add to the chat
  4. Click Start Chat
Screenshot showing the steps of starting a new chat.  Steps are outlined in the accompanying text.

Now start chatting! You can share Drive links, emojis, GIFs, assign tasks, start a Google Meet meeting on the fly, and more.

Setting up Spaces

To start a new space

  1. Click the Spaces icon from the Gmail interface
  2. Click New Space
  3. Click Create a Space
screenshot of spaces options from gmail with steps highlighted. the steps detailed in the associated text

Spaces Options

This is where Spaces flexibility comes in. There are multiple options for how to run the space and what users have access.

Google Spaces options screenshot
  • Icon (optional): choose an icon to represent your space. This appears in the the Gmail Chat sidebar.
  • Space name
  • Space description: add what your space is for or any expectations for conduct
  • Add space users: add names, email addresses, or Google Contact groups
  • Space access
    • Restricted: the space is only accessible for those added
    • Meredith College: the space is open to any faculty/staff user. The space can be found by any faculty/staff user in the “Browse spaces” option when adding a new space
  • Advanced
    • Allow people outside your organization to join: choose this if you would like to add email addresses for students or colleagues outside Meredith.
    • Only space managers can post: this option severally limits who can add content to the space.

The Advanced options cannot be changed after the Space is created but everything else about the Space can be edited at any time.

After the Space is created, you can find the space options by opening the Space full screen and clicking on the Space name. Or select the 3 dots option menu when the chat open as the popup box.

Google Space options from previously created space

Once the Space is setup, it has the same options for sharing information as a Chat. A Space user can leave at any time.

Within Tech Services, we use Chat regularly between team members and as a Q&A space with the student team. We’d love to hear how you are using the Chat options in your area! If you would like to share your Chat experience or have any questions, please contact IDAT Services.

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