Google Workspaces Chat Rooms suck

Want to search across various mediums offered by Workspaces? You can't with chat rooms

Published: Monday, Feb 1, 2021 Last modified: Monday, May 10, 2021

Typically on a “Gsuite” enabled company you have

  1. A chat room
  2. A mailing list

Problem with the chat room

You will have a room that looks like: https://chat.google.com/room/${RANDOM_11_CHARS}

Issues:

  1. Opaque room URL
  2. Difficult to find/join rooms since you need to go via a Browse Rooms dialog
  3. No pin / topic
  4. No way to link to a conversation
  5. No way to reference a message in a reply
  6. Has a Files tab but doesn’t summarise what’s been shared by URL or screenshot. Forces you to use Google Docs.
  7. When you use Files, of course these Files are not in Drive, so if you expect them to be in Drive you will be very confused.
  8. Random collapsing threads:
  9. Not trivial for example to find past images, hint: *.jpg is the search query for photos

Cloud search is of no help when it comes to searching in Chat rooms. However Gmail search can search “direct messages”, 1:1 conversations, but NOT ROOMS.

Problems with the mailing list

It looks like https://groups.google.com/a/${COMPANY}/g/${FRIENDLY_NAME}, which is good, but:

  1. It’s even slower than Chat
  2. People tend to use chat instead
  3. If you search with chat you will not get Group results
  4. If you search Groups messages you will not get chat results

tl;dr

Having business discussions in Google Chat Rooms aka https://chat.google.com/room/ has serious limitations for search, let alone basic chat functionality. For example you can’t even search across rooms.

The workaround is to bookmark https://chat.google.com/search/room/${RANDOM_11_CHARS} and remember to search there specifically if you are looking for a message from that specific Chat room.