Gmail app gets an upgrade with Google Chat and Rooms tabs

The upgrade finally comes to all free accounts, creating a one-stop Google communication app

Google Gmail app
(Image credit: Google)

Google has updated its Gmail app to include two new tabs for Google Chat and Google Rooms. This creates a single app for all your communication needs, or a “home for work”, rather than having to swap between different apps.

While the functions have been available for a while for business accounts, the new tabs are only just appearing in updates for free Gmail users on both Android phone and iOS. The Chat and Room tabs are still in an “early access” mode, which needs to be switched on in the settings before they appear. This is a Beta version and comes with a warning that you may experience bugs.

Google Gmail app

How to activate the Chat and Rooms tabs in the Gmail app

(Image credit: Google)

With the Gmail app now able to be used as your default mail app in iOS, you really can now use this as your hub for all chats, emails and video calls – provided your friends are also on Gmail. While I’m still a fan of Outlook’s Focused tab, the Gmail app is a fast and very useable option. And if you regularly use Google chat, having it in the same place is a plus.

To activate the Chat and Rooms tabs, first make sure your app is up to date, then:

-       In the main collapsible menu, go to Settings

-       Select your personal Gmail account

-       From the General section, hit the radio button next to Chat (early access)

You’ll be asked to close the app before it takes effect.

Google Gmail app

Before (left) and after (right) with the new tabs in Gmail

(Image credit: Google)
Mat Gallagher

As T3's Editor-in-Chief, Mat Gallagher has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. He has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing, Hong Kong and Chicago is now based in the UK. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, Apple, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.