Google Chat's new long-overdue feature aims to reduce noise for users

Google Chat logo on desktop
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google Chat has added in-line threading in a space.
  • The new feature allows you to respond to a specific message in a thread without posting your reply to the space's main conversation board.
  • As a result, the ability to create spaces organized by conversation topic will be removed in 2023.

In-line conversation threads for certain topics help to declutter the main chat board, which is why they're a popular feature in Slack and Microsoft Teams, among other services. Google Chat has joined the fray by adding in-line threading support to new and existing spaces.

Google said in a blog post (opens in new tab) that the goal is to allow you to reply to a specific message in any space without disrupting the flow of the main space, for example. There are other use cases in which the new feature comes in handy, like initiating a focused group discussion involving interested participants. 

When you drop your in-line reply, the original poster and anyone @ mentioned in a thread will get a notification, similar to how it works in many of the best messaging apps like Slack.

"We hope that by incorporating in-line threading into spaces, it will also be easier and more intuitive for users to scan the space and know what’s going on," Google said. "It will also help reduce noise for many users, as they will only be notified for replies to threads they participated in or choose to follow."

It should be noted, though, that Google Chat already features "threaded spaces," which contain messages and replies stacked together for all chat members. This is distinct from spaces with a single flow of unthreaded messages, and it is easily identified by a "+ New topic" button at the bottom of the space. In threaded spaces, each topic has its own compose bar.

Google Chat in-line threading

(Image credit: Google)

Moving forward, threaded spaces in Chat will be known as "spaces organized by conversation topic," though in-line threading won't be available. However, you will no longer be able to create spaces organized by conversation topic starting in early 2023, as Google plans to make in-line threading the universal format for all spaces.

By default, each new space will support in-line threading. The new feature is being rolled out in stages, and it is expected to be available to everyone by the end of this month.

It is available to Google Workspace users as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business customers. Users with personal Google accounts will also be able to access it.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.