Back in June, with the announcement that Workspace is available “for everyone,” Google revealed that “Rooms” in Chat would soon be renamed to “Spaces” and gain a slew of new features. That rebrand is now underway.
Alongside a trio of other announcements, Google today said “spaces are live for all users.” Practically speaking, this just sees the “Rooms” tab in Gmail and Chat get updated to “Spaces.”
Google Chat for Android widely rolled out the rename with version 2021.08.22.394052439 yesterday, while the Material You revamp of Gmail also updates the third tab. You can already see the new icon in Gmail for iOS, with the web apps likely following soon.
Functionality today is unchanged, but Google is introducing in-line topic threading, as well as “enhanced” lookup to “search everything” in the “coming months.” It allows “users to easily find content from within and across spaces.”
Similarly, Spaces will be discoverable across an organization with a “Browse” feature that is somewhat reminiscent of Google+ replacement Currents.
Lastly, there will also be “streamlined navigation” on the web with a new left-sided rail:
Web Gmail is moving to a navigation rail (like in Google Photos) with round buttons for Mail, Chat, Spaces (more on that below), and Meet. Once you tap into a view, another drawer appears to the right with familiar navigation. For example, you get the standard list of folders and labels for Gmail and a list of recent conversations for Chat and Spaces.