Getting Started With Google Chat

Getting Started With Google Chat

We’re excited to announce Hangouts Chat, a new way for STAFF to communicate with team members individually or as a group.

Hangouts Chat is an upgrade to classic Hangouts, built from the ground up for business and schools. Here are some highlights of what Chat can do:

  • Allow teams and groups to quickly communicate using any device from anywhere.
  • Hold multiple conversations with different teams at the same time.
  • Invite additional people to join conversations.
  • Easily share your work directly in the conversation thread.
  • Collaborate on documents and easily share of files.

You can switch devices and pick up the conversation on the go. For example, you can start a conversation on your computer, and continue it on your mobile phone, right where you left off.

How do I get started?

Google Hangouts Chat is already enabled. To get started:

  • Open up Self-Service on your Mac or iPad.
  • Search for and find ‘Hangouts Chat’ and download
  • When you open the app, you will be prompted to sign in with your Westside Google information.

What’s Unique About Hangouts Chat?

In Chat, you can send a direct message to individuals or to groups, or post in a room.

Direct messages are private conversations between you and other people. Once you create a direct or group message, you can’t add people, so the conversation remains private.

Rooms are public spaces for everyone that is invited in. You can add and remove people from a room as needed.

Many rooms have already been created for you. You can search and join these rooms by clicking on the “Find people, rooms, bots” button and then selecting “Browse Rooms”. If a room hasn’t been created already for your topic, you will be able to create one from this screen and invite people to it.

When do I use a group / private massage, and when do I use a room?

Deciding between posting a comment/question in a room vs a direct message should come down to the intended audience. If the information you are wanting (or wanting to share) is applicable to everyone in the room, it should go there. If it’s something confidential or only applicable to a subset of people, then either create a new private room or use a direct message.

Rooms are great because the information there is searchable. For example, Did you just become an elementary instructional coach? You can search through past discussions that the coaches have had to see if the question has been answered before.

Group messages Rooms
Who can chat After starting the chat, can’t add or remove anyone Can add and remove anyone at any time
Conversations Single unthreaded conversation Multiple, threaded conversations
Message history History can be turned off (messages removed in 24 hours) or turned on (messages follow your organization’s retention policy), subject to the admin’s settings. Message history is on, and messages are retained according to your organization’s policy
Name List of other members’ names, e.g. “Brenden, Ann, Rosa” Room creator chooses name, e.g. “Marketing chat”
Notifications Users are notified for every message Users are notified for conversations they’re in, or when @mentioned
Leaving Users can’t leave, but can hide the chat in the sidebar Users can leave and rejoin
Multiple with same users Can’t have two group messages with same set of people Can have two or more rooms with same set of people
Bots Bots can’t be included Anyone can add a bot

How can I get help with Hangouts Chat?

Google has a wonderful help page created in the G-Suite Learning Center that will walk you through how to use Hangouts Chat. Check it out at:

You can also access the Hangouts Chat Help Center at:

If you wan’t to get more advanced, you can view the Google Tips Library.