Is Google Chat copying WhatsApp with these features?
In a bid to expand its horizons, Google Chat seems to be transitioning from a purely business-centric platform to encompass more social elements. This shift appears to be an attempt to position itself on par with giants like WhatsApp. But the crux of this transformative wave lies in the introduction of seven new features that seek to enrich the user experience.
The majority of these new elements align with standard tools commonly found across various chatting platforms. While some might say this is Google playing catch-up, it’s a welcome development for those looking to integrate their personal and professional communication within one app. Notable among the recent upgrades is the ability to edit or delete messages—a staple feature in most of its counterparts. Users can now quote messages, providing clarity within busy group chats, and hide inactive conversations, thereby decluttering the chat space.
These new features are readily available and easily accessible via a patch that can be installed on your desktop or smartphone.
Yet, Google’s ambitions for Google Chat don’t end here. Upcoming weeks will see further enhancements aimed at refining the user experience. Among these is the expansion of read receipts from direct messages to group chats. Furthermore, the much-needed hyperlinking feature will finally find its place in the Google Chat ecosystem, available both on the web and Android platforms.
Notably, the inclusion of work-centric features like the AI-powered Smart Compose adds a touch of sophistication to Google Chat. Already a prominent part of Gmail, Smart Compose provides contextually aware suggestions to improve writing and reduce grammatical errors. Available in five languages including English and Spanish, it's now rolling out to all web users.
Additionally, Google Chat will soon support third-party business applications such as Asana, broadening its horizons beyond mere communication. We have reached out to Google for comments on potential partnerships with streaming services or game platforms, in the vein of Zoom’s party game offerings, and will update the story as more information becomes available.
However, this abrupt shift in focus raises questions. Why does Google feel the need to expand Chat beyond its work-centric model? While a redesigned, professional-oriented UI is on the horizon, these updates seem to blur the platform's primary purpose. The real challenge lies in Google Chat's attempt to compete with WhatsApp and its billions of users. We can only hope that these enhancements are part of a strategic vision for Google Chat's future, and not merely an attempt to bloat the platform, repeating the same missteps that led to the downfall of Google Hangouts.