Learn about the upgrade from conversation topics to in-line threading in spaces

In 2022, we introduced in-line threading for spaces to create a single, streamlined flow of conversation in Google Chat. In a space with in-line threading, you can either:

  • Send a message to the entire group in the main conversation window.
  • Reply to a single message to start a thread.
  • Quote a previous message.

Learn about the upgrade of all spaces to in-line threading

To continue evolving Chat to serve our users and keep teams productive, we’re upgrading all spaces organized by conversation topics to spaces with in-line threading. We expect the upgrade to complete by March 31, 2024 for all customers.

In most cases, the upgrade spans up to 2 weeks, rather than being limited to weekends:

  • During the weekday: Most spaces in your organization are upgraded instantly without any downtime.
  • During the weekend: Large spaces can take up to 12 hours to upgrade and remain unavailable.

Why we’re upgrading spaces

For Chat users, spaces organized by conversation topics can be difficult to navigate. It can be difficult for users to:

  • Keep track of individual topics as new replies are added.
  • Go back through a conversation to locate relevant topics.

A space with in-line threading allows users to:

  • Reply to any message and create a discussion separate from the main conversation with up to 500 replies.
  • Follow specific threads and receive notifications for replies and mentions in the thread.
  • Cut through clutter and stay on top of what matters most.

Compared to spaces organized by conversation topics, Chat users report a higher satisfaction rate for spaces with in-line threading.

Learn more about the upgrade to in-line threaded spaces.

Product update and live Q&A: Spaces organized by topic upgrade to in-line threaded spaces in Chat

Learn how this change impacts your spaces

If you have any spaces organized by conversation topic, they automatically upgrade to spaces with in-line threading.

On August 21, 2023, we notified customers about the upgrade. We'll continue to add details about the upgrade in this article as we continue upgrading spaces organized by conversation topic.

Before the upgrade, you may have 2 different types of spaces:

Spaces organized by conversation topic

In a space organized by conversation topic, messages and replies are grouped by topic for everyone to view.

An illustration of a space grouped by conversation topic

Spaces with in-line threading

In a space with in-line threading, you can either:

  • Send a message to the entire group in the main conversation window.
  • Reply to a single message.

If you use in-line threading to reply to a single message, your message branches into a separate conversation.

An illustration of a space grouped by in-line threading

Before the upgrade

At least two weeks before the scheduled upgrade of your space, a banner is shown in the space to notify you of the upcoming change.

Before the upgrade, the message "Spaces organized by topic are being upgraded to inline threaded spaces" appears at the top of the space

Access a space during the upgrade

During the upgrade, your space is unavailable. If you open a space during the upgrade, you may receive the message:

“Space is being updated. We’re updating this space to an inline threaded space and will be back soon.”

Try to wait a few minutes before you open the space again.

If you’re already in a space when the upgrade starts, most features in the space are unavailable until the upgrade is complete.

Chat APIs and apps can’t use spaces during the upgrade. You may get an error message when an API or app tries to update the space. For any spaces not being upgraded, apps and APIs still have access.

If you have access to Google Vault, you may see duplicate Chat messages in Google Vault search for spaces being upgraded.

Access a space after the upgrade

An illustration of a space that was recently upgrade to include in-line replies

Any spaces organized by conversation topic automatically upgrade to spaces with in-line threading.

Important: You still keep all messages that were sent before the upgrade, and you can continue to use these spaces with in-line threading.

For affected spaces:

  • You might need to close and reopen Chat to get access to the upgraded space.
  • “Inline replies added” appears after the last message from before the upgrade.
  • To find the start of a former conversation topic, look for “Begin new topic” in the previous messages.
  • If you sent messages in conversation topics before the upgrade, they appear in chronological order now instead of grouped with the conversation topic.
  • If someone responded to an older topic, as shown in the image above, the new message now quotes the previous message from that conversation topic.
  • When the space is upgraded, message history is on.
    • If your admin allows users to change history settings, then space managers can turn space history on or off.
    • New messages sent in the upgraded space follow the space history setting the organization sets.
  • Messages sent after the upgrade have the same experience as the existing in-line threaded space.

Check out upcoming Chat thread features

Catch up on messages from Home

Messages from your followed threads are shown in Home with a filter to: 

  • Only show your followed threads and unread conversations.
  • Open a conversation or reply from Home.

An image of the Home shortcut in Chat, showing where you can filter by threads and unread messages

Make it easier to read a thread

You can resize the threads sidebar to:

  • Fit your screen.
  • Focus on the most important threads.

An animation showing how to resize the thread panel on desktop

Find out who’s replied to a thread

Each thread shows avatars of users that have replied to the thread.

An image showing avatars for each user that responded in a thread in Chat

Get notified of important messages in threads

To ensure you don’t miss any updates, you can choose to get notified for all messages and automatically follow all threads within a space.

An image showing how to adjust notifications and mute conversations for threads in Chat

Work on projects in a space

After your space is upgraded, use these tips to organize conversations and collaborate effectively on projects.

Track active threads

To find threads in a space, in the top right corner of the space, select Threads .

Start a separate thread in a space

When you need to have a separate thread on a topic with a smaller group of space members, go to a message, and select Reply in thread . Learn how to reply in a thread.

Use @ mention

To get someone’s attention in a space, enter @ followed by their name. You can also:

  • Add multiple names to a message.
  • Mention everyone using @all.
Quote a message when you reply

When you want to bring awareness to an earlier question in the main conversation or give an update, go to a message, and select Quote in reply . Learn how to quote a message in a reply.

Share documents

To collaborate effectively on a project, you can share documents from your computer, mobile, and Google Drive. For Google Docs and Sheets, you can update the file directly in the space without leaving Chat. Learn how to send and share files in Chat.

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