The Transition to In-Line Threading in Google Chat

16 Oct, 2023
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As of September 30, 2023, Google started upgrading conversations grouped by topic to in-line threading. This change is anticipated to be completed for all users by March 2024.

In order to minimize disruptions on day-to-day work, Google will do their best to initiate upgrades during off-peak times on weekends. Should you be using Chat during these upgrades, spaces that are being upgraded will be inaccessible for a few minutes.

Prior to the upgrade
A minimum of two weeks prior to the upgrade taking place, a banner will be displayed in impacted spaces notifying users about the impending change.

Workplace - Chat inline threading1


During the upgrade
If you’re using an impacted space when the upgrade commences, most functions such as sending and receiving messages will be inaccessible. Typically, this will only last for a few minutes, after which users simply need to refresh the browser tab to access and use the newly upgraded space. Other direct messages, group conversations and in-line threaded spaces will not be impacted and will remain accessible during the upgrade.

Workplace - Chat inline threading1 Workplace - Chat inline threading2


After the upgrade
Once the upgrade is complete, the space will use the in-line threaded model. Messages sent before the upgrade will be retained, and will be arranged chronologically, instead of by topic. There will also be a separator titled “Begin New Topic” to indicate every time a new topic was started.

In some cases, when people have responded on older topics, the new chronological order takes precedence. This means that messages may not appear next to the original topic, but rather according to their timestamp. When this occurs, the new response will quote the last corresponding message that it is replying to, as seen in the image below.

You’ll also see a separator between the last message sent before the migration, and a message indicating that the space has been upgraded to a space with in-line replies. Going forward, all new messages will feature in-line threaded functionality.

Workspace - Inline Threading3


If external parties are included in a Space, they will also immediately experience these new functionalities. So it is possible that external people will ask questions.

More features within Google Chat will follow in the coming months.

Ernst-Jan van Gils
From his role as a change consultant, Ernst-Jan likes to help individuals and teams with the cloud-first workplace. Human change in IT projects is often underestimated. It is not the organization that changes, but the people in the organization that change. It is therefore important to optimally support the people in the organization in change processes.

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