When Google began migrating everyone over to Chat from the beloved and very underappreciated Hangouts Classic, it left out one core but important feature – the ability to call people! No, I’m not talking about in groups – you can already do that, and have been able to since its inception. I’m referring to the option to call 1:1 with any co-worker in order to handle some business off to the side of major group meetings.
Previously, you had to generate a Google Meet link in Chat and then send it to someone, forcing them to swap over to the video calling app in order to get into the face-to-face. While this update won’t yet be available to standard Google account holders, making it easier for those individuals to shift to Chat for personal use, Workspace users will “soon” be able to use this feature.
Direct Google Meet Calling, as it’s being coined, will ring either the call recipient’s device running either the Gmail mobile app or standalone Chat application. You can look forward to it rolling out to more Workspace tiers in the future, but we’ll have to wait and see how long that takes. Regardless, this is something users expected at launch, and in typical Google fashion, it was omitted. Perhaps the company wanted everyone to focus on larger gatherings when the app was initially rolled out since the global pandemic pressed for such a need.
Google says that 1:1 calls will make Chats more ‘spontaneous’ than scheduled meetings, being more akin to a hallway conversation than a meeting room. For this reason alone, I think the app needed it upfront since such an interaction is a natural and core part of our working relationships, but oh well, at least it’s here now, right?