Google is now rolling out the ability to mark previously read or opened direct messages, and messages in spaces as “unread”. This new Message Action can help you remember to return to important conversations at a time that’s more convenient to you without robbing you of the chance to read and understand them on the fly.
You can access this feature when it rolls out to you by hovering over a message and clicking the “Mark as unread” icon that appears next to the “Reaction” emoji icon. From your message list, you can also click the three dots “more” menu and select the same option from the top of the contextual menu that appears. On mobile, you can press and hold a message to perform this action.
If you’re not already seeing “Mark as unread” as an option, then just know that it only began its staged rollout yesterday. For full availability across all Workspace users as well as G Suite Basic and G Suite for Business customers, you may need to wait up to two weeks. This applies to both Rapid Release and Scheduled Domains alike.
If you want to clear all of the badges from a room that has unread messages, you can use this tool in reverse. Simply mark all messages as read by selecting the room from the list and clicking the same three dots menu. Pretty useful, right? I’ll say what I always say – “Why wasn’t this a thing at launch?” Insert shrug emoji here because, well, Google. Again, everything the company releases is meant to grow and evolve into a full product as it’s being used, not to be released in its final form.
The more I think about this as an artist, the more I can get on board with that approach since anything created is never really finished, just abandoned or released and then iterated upon. I’m not saying I like it, I’m just saying that I understand. The real question to ask is “where is the line between art that’s meant to be forward-thinking or expressive and art that’s meant to be usable as a product in the day-to-day lives of millions of users?