Google finally makes premium Gmail features free for everyone

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Millions of Gmail users worldwide are being treated to a free upgrade designed to make it easier to access some of Google’s other popular services, including Chat and Rooms. Google first unveiled these upgrades last year, but they were reserved for those with a Workspace account. The latter is a paid-for account used by businesses to allow its employees to use Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Meet, Google Docs, and other services within the business.

Thankfully, you don’t need to be working for a large corporation with a hefty Direct Debit to Google each month to get your hands on these features now. Dubbed “integrated workspace,” the changes are now coming to all Gmail users, including those with a free personal account.

The integration of Chat and Rooms is designed to bring instant messaging to your Gmail window – so you can quickly send a message instead of drafting an entire email. All of your Gmail contacts will be automatically available to text within the Chat window.

Likewise, Rooms is designed for friends and family to collaborate without the need to close Gmail and launch another web app.

Once updated on your smartphone, you’ll find all the new tabs at the bottom of the home screen with four sections, including Mail, Google Meet (it’s equivalent of Zoom), and the new Chat and Rooms interface.

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If you want to start a quick conversation with a friend or contact you can simply tap the “Chat” option with a floating window then opening allowing you to send instant messages. The same happens with “Rooms” with this option allowing a number of people to join a conversation at once along with sharing files and documents.

If you fancy giving this new upgrade a try, you’ll need to switch it on manually as, according to the team at 9To5Google, it’s not yet available as a default option.

To get access, you have to enable Chat “Early Access” on each of your devices as well as Google Accounts.

How to turn on new Gmail with Chat, Rooms ~

• Open Settings (at bottom of nav drawer)

• Tap personal Gmail account

• Under General, select “Chat (Early Access)”

• Click “Try it”

As we mentioned earlier, this update is an early preview so it might not work for everyone. It’s unclear when Google will push out the full upgrade for all users but hopefully, it won’t be too long.

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