Google Chat is a communication tool for messaging amongst the Lafayette community either through direct messages or group messages using “Spaces”. Chat can be a good solution for asynchronous communication with students such as Q&A or for synchronous communication such as Office Hours (see Managing Virtual Office Hours). Chat works in a browser by going to, accessing Chat through the Gmail web interface, or by clicking Chat in the Google Workspace apps waffle. There is also the Google Chat app for smart phones or tablets.

Communicate with others

  • Private conversations: Use a direct message to have a private conversation with a colleague or student.
  • Create Spaces for group conversations: Chat Spaces allow for group conversations that may or may not change over time. All members can view the conversation history and multiple threads can be discussed at a time using conversations for different topics within the same Space.

Getting Started with Chat

  • Gmail: located on the left side menu, hover over “Chat” and click “New chat” to search for an individual to direct message. To find a Space, hover over “Spaces” and to create a new Space, click the [+ New Space] button. 
  • Chat web interface: Use the box in the upper left hand corner to search for people or Spaces or to create a new Space
    Google Chat web interface
  • Chat app: Click the “New Chat” button to find people or Spaces

Once a Space has been created, you can can invite individuals or Google Groups from within the Lafayette Community. See Google Groups for Courses for information on adding your entire class to a Space.

Chat Features

Chat features include attaching files from either your computer or hard drive, Google My Drive and Shared drives, or create a new Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide on the fly. You can also start an impromptu Google Meet or see everyone within the Chat or Space Google Calendar.



Control your availability and notifications by changing your “Active” setting to “Away”. Others will see the “Away” designation and know that your notifications are muted. This is a good way to signal to others that you are not actively monitoring your Chat.

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