A Google Chat upgrade is rolling out as of September 30, 2023. Google will be upgrading the format of all spaces organized by conversation topic to in-line threaded spaces in batches. The changes take place over the course of several months. Upgrades for each space may take a few minutes to complete. In some cases, it may take up to 12 hours to complete. The space will be unavailable to users during the upgrade.
Most users’ spaces will be upgraded during non-peak hours on weekends to try and ensure minimal disruption. Upgrades for all customers are expected to be finished by March 31, 2024. If you have a preferred month during which you would like the upgrade to happen, fill out this form by September 28, 2023.
Spaces organized by conversation topic have messages and replies grouped together in the main chat window. In-line threaded spaces, on the other hand, allow direct replies to any message, and allow creating a separate in-line thread, which is a sub-conversation that appears in a separate pane in the UX to a sub-conversation where smaller groups of people can continue a conversation on a specific topic.
Before the Upgrade
- A few weeks before the Google Chat upgrade begins, users will see a banner in spaces that are organized by conversation topic. The banner will notify users of the upcoming upgrade. It will also have a link to a Google Help Center article which will have more details about the upgrade.
During the Upgrade
- When users attempt to open a space while it is being upgraded, they will see and error message. The message will state the ‘Space is temporarily not available. We are updating this space to an inline threaded space.’
- If users are viewing a space when the upgrade starts, most features will become unavailable until the upgrade completes, including sending and receiving messages in that space.
- Search in Google Vault for Chat messages will still function, but results may contain duplicated messages from spaces that are being upgraded.
- Chat APIs/Chat Apps that are trying to access a space during the upgrade will not work and will receive errors when trying to update space content.
After the Upgrade
- Messages sent before the Google Chat upgrade will be retained. They will be arranged chronologically, instead of by topic. There will also be a separator titled “Begin New Topic” to indicate every time a new topic was started.
- In some cases, when people have responded on older topics, the new chronological order takes precedence. Messages may not appear next to the original topic, but rather by the time they were sent. When this occurs, the new response will quote the last corresponding message.
- Users will see a separator between the last message sent before the upgrade. They will also see a notification in the space indicating that the space has been upgraded to use in-line replies.
- The upgraded spaces will have their conversation history turned on by default. This will match the existing history behavior of spaces organized by conversation topic, which always have history on. Depending on organization-level history controls, space history settings may be changed by space managers. New messages sent after the upgrade will respect applicable organization-level history controls configured by administrators.
- Users might need to close and reopen Chat in order to get access to the upgraded spaces.
- Messages sent after the upgrade will have the same experience as the existing in-line threaded spaces.
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About the Author
Christopher Caldwell is the COO and a co-founder of Cumulus Global. Chris is a successful Information Services executive with 40 years experience in information services operations, application development, management, and leadership. His expertise includes corporate information technology and service management; program and project management; strategic and project-specific business requirements analysis; system requirements analysis and specification; system, application, and database design; software engineering and development, data center management, network and systems administration, network and system security, and end-user technical support.