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What a small Google Chat update has to do with the future of the Internet

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What a seemingly mundane Google Chat update has to do with the future of the Internet

Google is giving its corporate customers the option to add up to 50,000 members to “spaces” in Google Chat


This week, Google announced an update to its Workspace corporate productivity software package:

“In continuing our efforts to boost communication and collaboration for teams of all sizes in Google Workspace, we’re increasing the number of users you can add to a space in Google Chat from 8,000 to 50,000.”

As the company put it: “This update is especially impactful for company-wide announcements, event-oriented spaces, large communities within companies, and support-related spaces.”

They finished the press release with an awfully nice sentiment: “We hope this feature not only helps increase connectivity and sense of belonging but also creates broader and more thriving communities within your organizations.”

Is that the whole story, though?

Why is Google investing in this? Do they just value robust communities that much? Or is there something more at play?


As this newsletter has written, whenever you want to know why a large, successful company has made a new move, follow the money —and look for the data angle.

And while Google's decision to significantly increase the number of users allowed in a Google Chat looks to be driven by multiple factors (keeping pace with competitors like Teams and Slack, or the gauzy notion of fostering collaboration and community), in our view, Google is opening up Chat in order to give it access to an ever-larger set of user data.

With that, Google can not only fine tune its core advertising business, but also refine their AI and machine learning models.


As most people know, data is literally the fuel for Google's revenue engine —selling ads against the world’s search queries —but that’s about to become doubly true as we enter the AI era.

Because, as important as data is to an online advertising business, when it comes to improving and refining AI and machine learning models, data is everything.


Each corporate employees’ interaction within Google Workspace, from the creation of a document in Google Docs, to a conversation in Google Chat, provides extraordinarily valuable data that can inform Google about user behavior, needs, and preferences.

Thus, an ever more robust, more active, and larger Google Chat community will clearly provide Google with insights about popular discussion topics within a certain industry, not to mention common questions or problems that users face, or even peak times of activity.

And, obviously, the larger the community (and the more active its members), the more data Google has to work with. This new cap of 50,000 users in a single Google Chat space, creates a pretty large and active petri dish from which the firm can glean some pretty valuable data.

And, as everyone knows by now…


As we navigate deeper into the digital age, the control and use of data is becoming the very lifeblood of our economy.

Seen through that lens, Google's move to expand the user capacity of Google Chat spaces is a serious strategic play. It signals an understanding of the growing importance of online communities as potential oil fields of rich, nuanced data.

Make no mistake. Data is oil. And it’s seeping up from the ground everywhere these days.


Google: “In continuing our efforts to boost communication and collaboration for teams of all sizes in Google Workspace, we’re increasing the number of users you can add to a space in Google Chat from 8,000 to 50,000” »»

Written by Jon Kallus. Any feedback? Simply reply. Like this? Share it!

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