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Click the bell to turn off notifications from that conversation or, click the grey bell on any other conversation to get notified about its replies, if you want. Those notifications will show up in the top right corner of Google Hangouts Chat and other newer G Suite apps, including Google Photos. Click a notification to see the message and jump right into the conversation—or click the back arrow to clear the notification.
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You can make things even calmer if you want. Or, if one room is particularly chatty, click its menu and select Turn off notifications. But with a few more minutes to study, you can get a lot more out of it.
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First, formatting. You can add italics and other formatting much as in Google Talk and Google Docs comments. Need to correct something and want to strike out a word?
Then, to add emoji to your Hangouts Chat messages, type a : then start typing the name of your emoji as you would in Slack. Hangouts will start filtering through the emoji options; when you find the one you want, press Enter to add it to your message or just type its full name and add a colon on the other end. Mentioning people in your message works like Google Docs comments and Slack: type an followed by the name of the person you want to mention. Hangouts Chat will start filtering through the names of people in your company, with those in this room on the top and others you could invite on the bottom.
Press Enter to select the person you want. Sharing stuff is easy too. Paste links in a new conversation or reply box, and most of the time Hangouts Chat will automatically show a preview of the image or a description of the article you shared. Ever need to edit a message? They can help you book meetings, find flights, poll your team, check your calendar, request time off, and much more—and are more interactive and powerful than bots in many other chat apps.
In Hangouts Chat, you can add bots to a specific room, or you can chat with them directly on your own. To find bots, click the Find Rooms button in the top left corner, then select Message a Bot.
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That will show a number of popular bots where you can search through them. Select one to message it privately. Chatting privately with a bot is a great way to get work done in other apps while you're using Hangouts Chat. The Kayak bot lets you ask about flights for an upcoming trip in real language, and it mostly gets things right. You can ask it to check your Google Calendar or book a meeting with someone else on your team.
The bot will then typically give you a quick description of how to use it, then will be ready whenever your team wants to mention it. Say you want to poll your team about what to eat for lunch. Or, liven things up with a GIF by replying giphy fireworks. You can build your own Hangouts Chat bots , too—or, for an easier option, you can add webhooks integrations to any room. Webhooks are a way to get notifications from many web apps, so you can use them to update your room when you get a new sale, close a deal, start a new project, and more.
Hangouts Chat will then give you a unique webhooks URL for your chat room. Copy that and add the link to another app like Zapier to send notifications into your Hangouts Chat room. Hangouts Chat is unique from most team chat apps in that its rooms are private—you have to be invited to them in order to start chatting. That keeps things focused, though it also might mean you need to ask others to add you to rooms when you join a project.
Or, if you're the one starting a project, you can make your own room. Hangouts Chat will then ask you to add people to your new room. Select anyone you want—or type their name or email to search through the list. You can add bots at the same time, to bring your favorite apps into the conversation, too. Ever need to add more people? Just mention them in a chat message, and Hangouts Chat will offer to invite them to the room.
You can leave anytime. From that same menu in the header, select Leave to jump out of a room. Much like how you can navigate your Gmail inbox and organize email without ever touching a mouse, you can do the same with your chat conversations in Google Hangouts Chat. This use of language suggests they may have more — not less — sophisticated communications skills.
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