More Gmail users get premium features for free as Google rolls out messaging upgrade

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Gmail users may find they have an all-new feature available within the popular email app. Google has been slowly rolling out an upgrade that brings the ability to chat with friends and family right from within the Gmail application on iOS and Android. This chat option was originally only available for those with a premium Workspace account but that’s all changing with it now coming to anyone with a free Gmail account.

Now, before you get too excited, it’s worth noting that this is not yet a global release and not everyone will have access but since the news was first announced last month it seems more and more people are getting the chance to try it.

In fact, 9to5google is reporting that the iOS version of the update should now be available to most iPhone users.

So what does this upgrade actually bring you?

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.

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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.

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.

To enable the feature on iOS or Android, all you need to is open the side menu and scroll down to Settings. The find the “Chat (early access)” option under General and switch it on via the toggle button. Then restart the app and you should have full access to Chats…enjoy!

News of this release comes ahead of an exciting week for Google fans with the firm holding its yearly I/O conference on May 18. Expect plenty of updates on Android, the Google Assistant and we may even see some shiny new gadgets revealed including some budget wireless Pixel earbuds.

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