Google Chat, Google’s business-focused messaging platform akin to Slack and Microsoft Teams, has undergone a substantial update for its Android and iOS apps. The changes are not just cosmetic; they significantly alter the app’s navigation, introducing a unique approach.

Previously, Google Chat’s mobile app had a straightforward structure with two pages: Chat (for direct messages) and Spaces (for larger chat rooms). Users toggled between these using a bottom navigation bar, a common design in most apps.

Now, the updated Google Chat app boasts four navigation buttons: Home, Direct messages, Spaces, and Mentions. Adding to this, there’s a new compose button on the right for quickly starting a new message.

But the transformation doesn’t stop there. Screenshots of the updated Chat app reveal its appearance within the Gmail app. In this setup, users encounter not one but two sets of navigation bars. The four new buttons, along with the compose button, appear as floating bubbles above Gmail’s existing navigation bar, which already has three buttons. The traditional hamburger menu in the top-left corner remains for additional navigation options. Some might say it looks rather cluttered and disorganized.

While this floating navigation bar is specific to Google Chat, it prompts speculation about whether Google will implement a similar approach in its other apps. Could we anticipate a comparable design in Google Messages, Google Maps, YouTube, and more? If it mirrors the current setup, some users might find it less appealing.

For current Google Chat users, the revamped app is set to roll out for Android and iOS over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for a fresh navigation experience on your mobile device.

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