Use Google Rooms to Boost Collaboration

By Keith Allison | January 21, 2021

In December, 2020, Google and NYU rolled out a number of enhancements to NYU Email and NYU Chat (Google), including the addition of rooms. Google rooms provide a way to collaborate via chat and document sharing, similar to the popular app Slack. It's especially handy for groups working in different locations and who need more robust collaboration features. For example, you can chat about a paper while working on it together, and you can assign specific tasks to people in the room and track their completion.

Interested in trying out the feature? Here's how to get started.

Create a Room

You can create a new room directly within the NYU Email screen. Rooms is usually located in your sidebar, below Chat.

  • Next to Rooms, click Create or Find a room, and then Create room.
  • Give your room a name.
  • Organize the conversation: threaded and unthreaded replies mimic how email is organized. A threaded conversation allows you to group related messages under a single topic. By default, rooms have a single stream of unthreaded messages. Note: You can’t change this setting once the room is created.
  • Pick an emoji: want to give your room a bit of personality? Click the smiley face/+ icon to add a cartoon avatar.
  • Invite and manage members: enter the names of people you want to be a part of the room. You can always add more (or remove someone) later.
  • Click Create. Your room is ready to go!

Join a room

When someone adds you to a room, you'll probably get a notification. When you click the + next to either Rooms or Chat in NYU Email, you'll see a list of Rooms to which you've been invited. You can also select Browse Rooms to see a list of rooms you have been invited to join or or rejoin (if you previously left the room). For more info, see Google's knowledge base article, Join a room.

Share files from Google Drive

When you're in a room (click on the room's name in the list to enter it), there will be three buttons above the chat log. Choose Share a file. A Drive window will open within the room, enabling you to find the Drive file you want to share. Once you've located it, click it and then click the Select button at the bottom of the window.

Once shared, everyone in the room will be able to see and open the file without having to open a separate browser tab for Drive. You can see all shared files by clicking Files tab near the top of the screen. There's a lot your team can do once a file is shared; see Google's Manage your files in Gmail rooms.

Assign tasks

If a member of your room wants to flag a specific task or comment for another member of the group, you can do that by clicking the Tasks tab near the top of the room screen, and then selecting Add room task. From there, you can describe the task, assign it to someone, and attach a completion date. When a task is assigned to someone, they'll get a notice. For more options, see Google support's Create and assign tasks in a room.

TIP: Working together on a specific Google Doc? You can also assign action items in a Doc comment by typing + followed by the person's NYU NetID or preferred name (Google will auto-complete the name as you type). Once they're mentioned in the comment, you will see an option to assign it to them. 

More info

You can find answers to many rooms-related questions in the NYU ServiceLink knowledge base. Additionally, since Google frequently makes updates to their services, you can browse Google's knowledge articles.