Gmail gets new status bar icons for Google Chat, Spaces

Just like in classic Hangouts group to go away For Workspace customers, Google continues to update Chat and Spaces with even more capabilities. A little tweak sees Gmail for Android introduce new status bar icons that help differentiate notifications from Google Chat and Spaces.

Previously, new message alerts from Google Chat (one-to-one or group chats) and Spaces (a Slack/Teams competitor) had the same status bar icon: a message bubble filled with another one behind it.

Gmail for Android is rolling out separate icons for each type of notification:

  • Chat: One message bubble selected with an empty inner space
  • Spaces: Three people next to each other

Chat icon / old spaces | New chat icon me new spaces icon me Gmail icon

Google now uses the bottom bar tab icons for the status bar. It matches the Gmail code to email and helps people, especially enterprise users, quickly distinguish where a message is coming from.

If there’s one complaint, it’s very easy to miss the hollow chat icon because it’s so tiny. Meanwhile, the Spaces icon will take a moment to get used to as it gives you the vibe of social networks. (I originally thought it was the new Twitter follower alert.)

Right now, we’ve only seen these new status bar icons on one Android device running Gmail 2022.02.20.x. It has not been released widely yet, while independently The Google Chat app is not yet updated. This comes as Gmail for iOS this month will display the profile picture of the chat sender from now on to improve the ability to have a quick look.

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