Get started with Google Chat

Google Chat is a powerful way to communicate. You can start a message with one or more contacts; create a room for ongoing conversations with groups of people; and use bots to help to automate your work.

Chat works in your computer browser and on mobile apps for Android and iOS. Chat keeps all your messages in sync no matter which devices you use, even if you switch between them.

Communicate in two ways

  • Have a private conversation: Use a direct message to communicate one-on-one or with a small group.
  • Create a room: Use a room to have an ongoing conversation with a group of people. Rooms can have multiple threads for different topics within the same room. All members can view the history so that they don’t miss discussions.

Sign in to Google Chat

Sign in to Google Chat to send and receive messages.

  1. Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account
  2. If prompted, sign in to your Google Account.

Tips:

Understand Google Chat symbols

Symbol Description Learn more
"" Add an emoji
Help and feedback Help and feedback
"" Open other Google apps Use the Google bar
"" Search for people, words or rooms Search chat messages
"" Set up general notifications Turn notifications on or off
Start a video meeting Start a video meeting Start a video meeting
"" Upload a file Attach a file to a message
"" Upload a Google Drive file Attach a file to a message

Learn how to use Google Chat 

Open Google Chat in a browser
Tip: Google Chat is also available in Gmail. Use Google Chat in Gmail.
Send a message to a person or group

Send a message to a person:

  1. Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account.
  2. On the left, under 'Chat', click the name of the person that you want to message. 
    • If you can’t find their name, click Start a chat Add.
    • Enter a name or email address. Suggestions appear as you enter text.
      • Tip: If you’re logged into a work or school account, to send a direct message to someone outside of your organisation, enter their email address.
    • Select the person that you want to message.
  3. Enter a message. 
  4. Click Send "".

Send a message to a group

  1. Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account.
  2. On the left, under 'Chat', click a group name.
  3. Enter a message. 
  4. Click Send "".
  5. If the group isn’t under 'Chat', click Start a chat Add and then Start group conversation.
  6. Enter a name or email address. Suggestions appear as you enter text. 
  7. Click Done "".
  8. Enter a message. 
  9. Click Send "".
Create a room or preview and join a room

Create a room 

  • Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account.
  • Next to 'Rooms', click Create or find a room "" and then Create room.
  • Enter a room name.
    Optional: To customise your room:
    • If you want to pick an emoji, click Choose an emoji "". If you don't select an emoji, a default avatar is used.
    • If you use a Google Workspace account, you may be able to select these options that can’t be changed later: 
      • 'Use threaded replies' to create different conversation threads.
      • 'Allow people outside of your organisation to join.' 
  • Enter names or email addresses of people and groups that you want to add. You can also select from suggestions. 
  • Click Create.
    Optional: To add more people and bots to the room:
    1. Click Add people and bots
    2. Enter names or email addresses. 
    3. Click Send.

Preview and join a room: 

  1. Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account.
  2. Next to 'Rooms', click Start a chat "" and then Browse rooms.
    • The rooms that you're invited to are at the top of the list. 
    • To find a room, enter its name.
      Optional: To preview a room, point to the room name and click Preview.
      • When you preview a room, you can read messages, but you can't send messages or get notifications.
  3. In the preview, to block the room, click Block, or to join the room, click Join.
Edit or delete text in a conversation
Important: You must use Chat with a Google Workspace account to edit or delete messages.

Point to your chat message, then click:

  • Edit Edit: Make your changes, then click Done "".
  • Delete Delete: To confirm, click Delete.
Add formatting and emoji to your messages
  • Bold text: Add asterisks * before and after the text that you want to make bold. For example, if you enter *Tuesday*, the chat displays Tuesday.
  • Italicise text: Add underscores _ before and after the text that you want to italicise. For example, if you enter _every week_, the chat displays every week.
  • Strikethrough text: Add tildes ~ before and after the text that you want struck through. For example, if you enter ~done~, the chat displays done.
  • Create an inline code block: Add backticks ` before and after the text that you want to put in a code block.
  • Create a multi-line code block: Add three backticks ``` before and after the text that you want to put in a code block.
  • To select an emoji
    1. Click Emoji "".
    2. Select the emoji that you want to add.

Add formatting to your messages.

Leave a room
Important: If you create a conversation in classic Hangouts, you can’t add people or leave the conversation in Google Chat. To do so, create a new room or new message in Google Chat.
  1. Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account.
  2. On the left, under 'Rooms', next to the room name, click More options More and then Leave and then Leave room.
Delete a conversation or message

Delete a conversation

  1. Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account.
  2. On the left, next to the person's name, click More options More and then Delete conversation and then Delete

Delete a message

Important: You must use Chat with a Google Workspace account to delete a message.

  1. Point to your chat message, then click Delete. 
  2. To confirm, click Delete Delete.
Upload and share files
  1. Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account.
  2. Enter your message.
    • In Gmail: Click Add Add.
  3. Choose an option:
    • To attach a file from your computer, click Upload ""
      • The file isn’t added to Google Drive. Other users get the file directly in the message.
    • To attach a Drive file, click Google Drive "".
      • If anyone in the room doesn’t have access to the file, you get a notification when you send the file. 
      • If you have edit access to the file, you can grant access. 
      • If you grant access to a file in a room, access also applies to people who join the room later. 
      • If people leave the room, they lose access to the file, unless you give them access separately. 
  4. Select the file that you want to send.
  5. Click Send "".

Send and share files in Chat messages.

Search your messages
  1. Open Google Chat or the Chat desktop app "".
  2. At the top right, click Search "".
  3. On the left, select a room or click All rooms and direct messages.
  4. In the search box, enter search terms.
    Optional: To narrow your search, click people and content types, such as images or videos. 
  5. To open the result, click Go to thread.
Manage your notifications
  1. Go to Google Chat or your Gmail account.
  2. Open settings: 
    • In Chat: Click your status and then Chat notification settings or Settings Settings.
    • In Gmail: Click your status and then Chat notification settings.
  3. Under 'Desktop' or 'Desktop notifications', select an option:
  • To play a sound for notifications, tick the box next to 'Play notification sounds'.
  • To turn email notifications for unread messages on or off, under 'Email' or 'Email notifications', select Only @mentions and direct messages or Off.
Tip: Email reminders apply to messages that you haven't read after 12 hours.
Change your profile photo

Google Chat displays your Google Account's profile photo. Add or change your profile photo.

If you update your photo for Chat, it's updated for other Google services. 

Send feedback in Chat

  1. Go to Google Chat.
  2. Go to the area in Chat that you have trouble with.
  3. At the top right, click Support Help and feedback and then Send feedback to Google.
    • Optional: If a screenshot would help to explain your feedback to our support team, leave the box next to “Include screenshot' ticked. If you don’t want to include a screenshot, untick the box.
    • Optional: You can click the screenshot to edit or hide info.
      • Draw with yellow to highlight issues.
      • Draw with black to hide sensitive info.
      • Click Done.
  4. Enter your comments in the box. 
  5. At the bottom right, click Send.

Tip: In your feedback, share as much detail about the problem or suggestion as you can.


Google, Google Workspace and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google LLC. All other company and product names are trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?