While some users are still upset about how Google has treated Hangouts, some have already gotten used to using the Chat app to communicate with colleagues and friends. Now the mobile app seems to be getting a minor update as some users have reported seeing a new user interface for the bottom bar. It may not be a major change but it makes the bar a little less cluttered and also frees up some of the screen space for the chat log.
Android Police shares that Mishaal Rahman first spotted the change and posted it on Twitter. The different-looking bottom bar actually looks a little bit like the web version of the app. Currently or previously, the bottom bar has the shortcuts right there below the chat input box. But with some users, they’re now seeing a new bar with a + button and all those shortcuts hidden under there. The images shortcut however is still there as it’s the most-used one apparently.
Looks like a new UI is rolling out for the bottom bar in Google Chat on mobile.
Middle & right: New pic.twitter.com/8UppM0e6QX
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) November 30, 2021
When you tap on the + button, you’ll see shortcuts to Photos (redundant as the photo icon is still there on the bar), Camera, Meet link for when you need to do a video call, Calendar invite, Drive, and Format which brings out the formatting options for your text. This doesn’t seem like a major change for the app but if you prefer your bottom bar to have a bit more space, this is a welcome change. But if you prefer having your shortcuts front and center, then this may not work for you.
Google still doesn’t seem to have a handle on its communication apps as they keep coming up with new ones and then discontinuing the ones that don’t work or are not that popular with users. Hangouts is basically dying and Chat is the new messaging app that is the official successor to it. There have been a lot of major and minor updates the past few months and while this one seems to be the latter, it’s better than nothing.
The new bottom bar interface seems to be a an A/B test as some users are seeing it while some still have the old one. The change has been seen in version 2021.10.31.408397499 of Google Chat so update your app and maybe you might see it.