Google Chat currently bundles messages together in what are called threads to mirror the functionality of something like email. It’s meant to be a productivity tool for teams, similar to that of Slack, but it has probably turned more users away from it than it’s attracted. Soon, rooms will feature unthreaded conversations, with the option of threaded rooms remaining a part of the service. Once you create a room with or without threads, you can’t change it.
Additionally, unlike in threaded rooms, in unthreaded rooms, you can toggle history on and off. A room history setting is available in the Admin console that allows admins to decide the default history setting for rooms within their organization that support the toggle.Google Workspace Updates
Beginning its rollout on November 16, 2020, unthreaded conversations will start showing up for Admins and end-users within three days and will then be on by default for newly created rooms. All Google Workspace tiers will be able to take advantage of this update. If you want to take advantage of this for your organization, but have already been using rooms, you will, unfortunately, need to delete and re-create all of your rooms!
It’s great to have an option for unthreaded conversations, but a simpler solution has been in front of Google all along – the ability for users to properly collapse threads and for admins to delete them in one fell swoop. Honestly, I’m not sure what the idea was behind making threads the way they are, but while I like the idea of them, I think their execution is poor and that’s a shame.
In fact, it’s the one reason why I’ve never used Hangouts Chat rooms for any of my businesses or teams in a meaningful way. Instead, I played with it for a while, trying to see how I could make its weird quirks fit my needs (as I often do with many Google services) and then tried, with no success, to convince people who it completely confused and frustrated to use it. I kind of wish Google would just add the ability to completely collapse a chat or to delete it instead of everyone having to delete their own messages one at a time. What a disaster.
Regardless, I’m interested in the unthreaded conversations option and will try to start using Chat because of it. I hope to see Google start to move a little quicker with these updates – people have been asking for this feature since the service launched and they’ve been completely quiet on the issue until now. Maybe we just need a bit more transparency or a road map for these types of updates.