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BetterCloud’s Top 5 Google Chat Tips

BetterCloud Monitor

November 27, 2012

3 minute read

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At BetterCloud, we spend the majority of our workdays inside Gmail, so naturally we’ve developed some helpful tips that save us time each and everyday. These 5 tips will help you get the most out of Google Chat (sometimes called Talk), and will hopefully allow you to better communicate with your colleagues throughout the day.

1. Group Chat

add multiple users to a Google Chat conversationWe use Google Chat to share links to article and Google Docs everyday. And more often than not, we’re sharing the same links with multiple people. You can either chat each person individually and send them the link OR you can start a group chat and send the link once, saving you time.

To start a group chat, select a user you wish to chat with from your list. Then click on the “person+” icon at the top of the chat window. Begin typing the name of the user or users you wish to add and select them from the auto-populated list, then click “Invite.”

2. Start a Chat from Within an Email

Chat to reply to an emailAnother great time saver is the ability to start a chat from directly within an email. Of course, in order to do so the user who sent the email must be online.

To start a chat from within an email, simply click the the down arrow on the right side of the email and select “Reply by chat to user.” Once you start the chat, you and your chat buddy will see a small note in the chat window indicating you’re chatting in reply to a specific email.

3. Off the Record Chat

Google Chat off the recordEvery Google Chat discussion is recorded and saved in your inbox. This comes in very handy if you’re looking for information a colleague shared with you during a chat conversation rather than in an email. However, if you do not want your chat conversations automatically saved, you can select to chat “Off the Record” on a user by user basis.

To begin chatting of the record, open a chat window and select the More drop down menu, then click “Go off the record.” Keep in mind that once you select to chat off the record, chats with that particular user will not be recorded. To stop chatting off the record, simply select that option from the chat window’s More drop down menu.

4. Text Formatting in Chat

Expressing emotions in chat can be hard without using emoticons constantly. However, with simple text formatting rules, you can add emphasis to your chat conversations.

For bold text, add asterisks: *Example*
For italics, add underscores: _Example_
For strikethrough, add hyphens: -Example-

5. Apps Butler via FlashPanel

Custom Google Chat via Apps ButlerAlthough not natively found in Google Chat, another feature we use everyday is FlashPanel’s Apps Butler feature. After installing FlashPanel, our cloud management and security tool, administrators can invite users to “chat” with the Apps Butler. Users can then type users’ names or groups to retrieve directory information instantly using the following commands:

– /who [userid, groupid, ouname]
– /links
– /contact [shared contact]

And for super administrators, the Apps Butler can reset passwords, suspend users and broadcast company messages with these commands:

– /broadcast <message>
– /resetpassword [userid] [password]
– /suspend [userid]

If you forget any of these commands, simply type in “/help” to the Apps Butler and he’ll return a list of every applicable command.

Install FlashPanel here

Bonus: Try the following to get even more out of Google Chat:
– Adjust the size of your Chat buddy list using the ellipses (or “…”) at the top of the list

Google Labs:
– Extra Emoji
– Green Robot!
– Pictures in Chat
– Right-side Chat
– SMS (text messaging) in Chat

Have a favorite tip we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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