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[How To] Enable Right-Side Chat in Gmail

Read on as I show you how to move the Gmail chat box to the right for easier access and better visual consistency between Google products…

I’m a heavy Google+ user and I tend to switch between Gmail and Plus often and because of this, the Google Chat box jumps from left (Gmail) and right (Google+).

As well as making your Google experience more consistent between products, more contacts in your chat roster can be displayed and (I find) it much easier to access and use then when it is tucked away in the bottom-left of the Gmail interface.

Google Chat sidebar in Gmail

This looks a little more Google+-esque

If you would like to enable this feature for yourself, the option is only a couple of mouse-clicks away. Here’s how:

Step 1

  • Open up your Gmail inbox and hit the cogwheel drop-down menu and click on “Settings”.

Step 2

  • Select the “lab” tab and scroll down until you see the “right-side chat” lab. Alternatively you can type in “right-side” in the conveniently-placed search box and that should bring up the relevant result.

Step 3

  • Click the “Enable” radio button and don’t forget to save changes.

Gmail should then reload itself and you should then see the chat box appear on the right-hand side of the screen.

Do you have any labs enabled in Gmail? If so, we’d love to hear which ones you use and why in the comments section below!

  • Labs I use: Auto-Advance; automatically takes me to the next email rather than back to the inbox

    Google Voice player in email; allows me to play messages left on Google Voice right in the notification email

    Green Robot; shows me who’s using Android from my Google Talk (which I’ve had on the right side for a LONG time)

    Pictures in chat; shows me the photo of the person I’m chatting with in Google Talk – I believe the photos are sourced from G+

    Right-side Chat; :)

    SMS text-messaging in chat; exactly what it says – send and receive SMS messages from GTalk

    Undo Send; for those times I really want to scream at someone…then reconsider seconds after I hit ‘Send’ (you’d be surprised how often…I limit the screaming to politicians)

    That’s it for me.

  • Great article! It’s worth noting that “Chat” needs to be turned on in order for this lab to work (under the Chat tab in settings). I personally use the Google Chat extension, so I usually keep Chat turned off in GMail.

  • daas88

    That’s a nice labs feature. But the feature I miss the most is the mouse gestures one, which they took away from us without explanations :-(

  • Ricardo N Feliciano

    I’ve used this a few times and it’s deffinitely the way to go. Good tip.

  • Kris

    Nice tip.. thanks for sharing !

  • Rushabh

    Great one.. it’s very clear now.. Thanks…

  • SunitaBiddu

    You just saved my time. Thanks

  • Anis

    hey thanks for this info

  • emg


    • adrianstead

      Hey x

  • adrianstead

    Hey all

  • Rob Ainbinder

    Just the thing! Chat in Mail disappeared on the left. The RH lab is the way to go!

  • SK

    What if my background color is impeding my ability to see things in the ghcat window when it is on the right? Is there a way to fix this without changing my background in gmail?

  • Tricia

    I have Gmail for my work email. When I moved the chat box to the right, my cogwheel disappeared. Now I can’t get into Settings at all.