Gmail becomes more like Slack with new collaboration tools. Here's how they work

You can move your Google Docs, Drive, Calendar, Meet and a new feature called Rooms into your Gmail browser or app to make it easier to work with others. Here's how.

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Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
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Alison DeNisco Rayome
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Gmail is getting some new tools that make it easier to collaborate with the people you work with.

James Martin/CNET

Google wants Gmail to be your hub not only for email, but for planning projects and chatting with coworkers. The tech giant recently unveiled a redesign for the email app and site, in an effort to compete with productivity apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams, as much of the world moves to a hybrid of working online and back in the office. 

The redesign brings Google Docs, Drive, Calendar, Meet and a new feature called Rooms into your Gmail browser or app, so that it's easier to find everything you need to collaborate with friends, family and coworkers. Rooms works similar to Slack channels, letting people chat in real time, and swap files and edit Google Docs without switching tabs. (One somewhat confusing note: Over the summer, Rooms will become Spaces, a dedicated place for organizing people and projects, with a more streamlined interface.) 

You can start using this new, more integrated version of these Google Workspace apps today, in a few simple steps. Here's how to get started. 

How to bring all of your Google apps together in Gmail


Google Rooms will turn into Spaces over the summer.


Here's how to enable Gmail's redesign on your desktop (you can also find instructions from Google for your iPhone or Android). 

1. Open Gmail in a browser, and sign in. 

Brett Pearce/CNET

2. At the top right, click the gear icon for Settings > See all settings.

3. In the tabs at the top, click Chat and Meet.

4. Under Chat, click Google Chat. You can also manage chat settings, change the Chat position in your inbox, and choose to show or hide Meet in your inbox. 

5. Click Save Changes

This will give you a more centralized location to connect and work with people. You'll also find small icons on the right side of the screen for Calendar and any other Google Workspace apps you use, along with the ability to add in more.

For more, check out 10 Gmail tricks you'll use every day and Google's simple fix for Gmail and other Android apps crashing on phones

Watch this: Tips and tricks for using Gmail