Google Chat is prepping a WhatsApp-like broadcast feature

Google Chat overflow menu on mobile
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is planning to add support for broadcast messaging, which will make Google Chat more like competitors Slack and WhatsApp. 
  • The new feature, called "Announcements," will presumably allow users to pick and choose who can send messages in large groups.
  • It appears to be similar to Channels on WhatsApp, and could make Google Chat a more feasible option for workplace communication. 

Broadcast messaging is becoming an increasingly popular way to connect with a large number of users without groups turning into a frenzy. Social media features like X (formerly Twitter) Spaces and WhatsApp Channels limit who can speak or chat while allowing select users to communicate with a massive audience. Google Chat appears to be taking note of these successful features and is preparing one of its own. It's called "Announcements," and it will make broadcast messaging possible on the platform.

Longtime Android dissector AssembleDebug on X gave us our first look at the Announcements feature in Google Chat (via Android Police). We don't know exactly how Announcements will work yet, but we have a good idea. Right now, there is only one type of Google Chat space, and it allows for collaborative groups. With this new feature, Google Chat users will be able to choose whether their space is for collaboration or announcements. 

Collaboration spaces allow Google Chat users to "collaborate on project, plans, or topics [and] easily share files, assign tasks, and organize your conversations by threads." By comparison, the new Announcements spaces will make it possible for Google Chat users to "broadcast and share updates with your group. 

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The new Announcements feature will almost certainly make it possible to limit who can post in a Google Chat space. What's unclear is whether more than one person can make announcements in an Announcements space or if it'll be limited to just the creator. Assuming that Google wants to make Google Chat an alternative to current broadcast messaging platforms, it'll need that level of curation. 

There are a handful of apps and services that Google could be trying to beat with the Announcements feature in Google Chat. Consumer-level apps like WhatsApp, Discord, and Telegram all have similar functionality to Google Chat spaces. Additionally, there are workplace-grade apps such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. Considering that Google has plenty of business-oriented apps in Google Workspace, it wouldn't be surprising for the company to want to bring everything under one roof.

Still, we'll have to wait and see what Google Chat Announcements are really like when they debut and whether people want to use them. 

Brady Snyder
Contributor

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.