Google Chat vs Slack: Ultimate showdown

Jelena Fisic

Last updated on: May 25, 2022

In modern workspaces, whether they belong to hybrid, remote, or office-first work models, team chat apps are an inevitable part of effective communication and collaboration

However, choosing the right business messaging tool can be overwhelming, since they all look alike and offer you similar features.

To help you make an informed decision, in this blog post, we will compare two of the most popular chat apps on the market — Google Chat and Slack. 

First, we’ll do a quick comparison, for those of you who don’t have time to read the whole blog post. 

Afterward, we’ll break the comparison down into the following categories:

  • Pricing plans,
  • Interface,
  • Communication,
  • Notifications,
  • Search,
  • File sharing and storage,
  • Integrations,
  • Support, and
  • Security.

In the end, we’ll reach the verdict and decide which team chat app is better.

We hope that at the end of this blog post, you’ll have all the information necessary to choose the right tool for you.

Let’s get started!

Google Chat vs Slack

Google Chat vs Slack overview

First, we offer you a quick overview of Google Chat and Slack.

Google Chat was created when Hangouts evolved into 2 premium products:

  • Google Chat for messaging
  • Google Meet for video and audio conferencing

Although it has changed over the years, Google Chat has stayed as one of the most prominent team chat apps out there, primarily because it’s so well integrated into Google’s offer.

Since Google Chat is a part of Google Workspace, to use this communication app, you must have a Google Workspace plan. 

So, why should you use Google Chat? 

It provides a platform for communication and collaboration, where people exchange direct messages or create team chat rooms. 

Aside from that, they can share files and engage in video calls via Google Meet.

This team chat app can be used on the browser, mobile app, or computer app, so it’s easily accessible.

Google Chat
Google Chat

Slack is a business team collaboration and communication platform. 

Slack is used for the exchange of instant messages — direct or group ones, in so-called Channels. 

Aside from that, Slack enables the users to share files and use integrations with other apps.

This platform can be accessed via a browser, mobile app, or computer app, so it can be used across many devices.

Slack
Slack

In the table below, you can see the features of both Slack and Google Chat. 

FeaturesGoogle ChatSlack
Pricing– Basic $6 per user, per month
– Business $10 per user, per month
– Enterprise $25 per user, per month
– Free (Up to 10k messages, 10 apps & integrations)
– Standard $6.67 per active user, per month 
– Plus $12.50 per active user, per month
InterfaceClean, 
basic customization
Clean, 
custom sidebar themes
Communication optionsSpecial places for group conversations — Spaces (private by default)Special places for group conversations — Channels (you choose between making them public or private)
NotificationsLets you set up different notifications preferences for your devices – web, email, desktop, and mobile– DND
– You can set up notifications for specific channels and keywords
Search optionsYou can choose to search spaces or messagesMore advanced — allows you to search within a specific time
Search within documents
File sharing and storage options– Free Google Workspace: 15 GB storage
– Basic Google Workspace: 30 GB storage
– Business and Enterprise: unlimited storage
– Free plan: 5 GB file storage for a team
– Standard plan: 10 GB per user
– Plus plan: 20 GB per user
IntegrationsIntegration with other Google Workspace apps and other third-party tools
113 integrations (called Bots)
10 integrations limit in the free plan,
2,400+ integrations in paid plans
SupportEmail/Help Desk
FAQs/Forum
Knowledge Base
Email/Help
DeskFAQs/Forum
Knowledge Base Chat
SecurityStandard security 
(paid plans)
no self-hosting
Standard security 
(paid plans)
no self-hosting

That was a brief version of our comparison.

If you’re interested in something more detailed, let’s dive into each of the categories, and compare these two apps.

💵 Google Chat vs Slack pricing plans 1:0

First things first — pricing plans. 

If you’re already using Google Workspace, Google Chat is free

However, with the complete Google Workspace package, you get some extra features: 

  • Custom and more secure business email,
  • More participants in the video meetings,
  • More cloud storage, and
  • Better security and management controls.
Google Workspace pricing plans
Google Workspace pricing plans

On the other hand, Slack offers a generous free plan, with 5 GB of storage per user, and access to 10,000 of a team’s most recent messages. 

And this is where Slack takes the cake.

Although in a free plan Google Chat offers 15 GB of storage per user, you have to keep in mind that this refers to the whole Google Workspace package.  

Slack’s pricing plans
Slack’s pricing plans

Speaking of paid plans, Slack’s Pro package is a little bit pricier than Google Chat’s Business Starter package. It offers 10 GB of storage per user, whereas Google Workspace offers you 30 GB per user. 

Slack’s next paid plan is slightly pricier than Google Chat’s, but it offers “just” 20 GB of data storage per user, whereas Google Workspace offers you 2 TB for a slightly less price. Even if we take into account the fact that this storage doesn’t apply just to Google Chat, you have to admit that this is the better option. 

So, in this category, Google Chat comes out as the winner.

Here’s a brief overview of both apps’ pricing plans:

Pricing plansGoogle ChatSlack
Free plan Yes (for Google Workspace users) Yes 
Free trialYes No 
Cheapest paid plan$6$6.67
Overall impression ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

💡 Pumble Pro Tip

Although Google Chat took the medal in this category, there is an even more affordable solution.

Namely, Pumble’s free plan offers you 10 GB of storage per user. If you want to take a glance at paid plans, you can find the information here: 

📱Google Chat vs Slack interface 0:1

Our next category has something to do with aesthetics and user experience — interface. 

What kind of interface provides you with the best user experience? 

First of all, it should be intuitive and user-friendly. 

Aside from that, it should be aesthetically pleasing, since you’ll be looking at it a great portion of your workday, especially if you work in distributed teams

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at both our apps and find out which interface is better. 

Let’s consider Google Chat’s interface first. 

Google Chat interface
Google Chat interface

If you’ve ever used Chat in Gmail, you’ll notice that it’s pretty similar to Google Chat. This is the best way to give users a consistent and predictable experience. 

Aside from that, in Chat rooms, you can access shared files and tasks by using tabs at the top of the room. 

There’s also a quick access side panel, which provides easy access to Calendar, Keep, Tasks, or Maps. 

However, if you want to get creative with different themes, the choice is limited to dark and light modes.

What about Slack’s interface? Let’s take a look!

Slack interface
Slack interface

Aside from the eye-pleasing design, Slack’s interface is very user-friendly. There are commands for shortcuts — for starting a new channel or inserting a GIF. 

You can also change the color of the platform and customize your avatar. 

That’s precisely why Slack is taking the crown in this round.  

InterfaceGoogle ChatSlack
LayoutSimpleClean and intuitive
Customization BasicAdvanced 
Overall impression ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

💬 Google Chat vs Slack communication 1:1

Here’s where these two apps are pretty similar. Both have dedicated spaces for group communication

In Google Chat, they are simply called Spaces, while in Slack, they’re called Channels. 

Now we come to one important difference between these two apps. 

Namely, Spaces in Google Chat are private by default. To join them, you need to have an invite. 

Space in Google Chat
Space in Google Chat

In Spaces, you can share files and tasks with your coworkers, which is especially useful when you want to avoid sending all those emails while working remotely

On the other hand, in Slack, you can choose whether you want to make a new channel private or public.

Creating a Channel on Slack
Creating a Channel on Slack

Moreover, both apps use threaded conversations.

Keep in mind that, when creating a new Space in Google Chat, you have to decide whether you want a threaded conversation or not. After the Space is created, you cannot change your settings.

Creating a Space in Google Chat
Creating a Space in Google Chat

In Slack, threads are optional and you can use them to spread a conversation about a certain topic without cluttering the feed.

Threads in Slack
Threads in Slack

Both of these apps are great for asynchronous communication.

Just bear in mind that in Slack’s free plan, your message history is limited to 10,000 messages. After you reach this limit, Slack deletes your old messages. 

💡 Pumble Pro Tip

If message history is important to you, maybe you should consider using Pumble, which offers you unlimited chat history in a free plan.

All that’s left is to sum up the communication options of both apps.

CommunicationGoogle ChatSlack
Chat history unlimited10,000 most recent messages with the free plan
Mentions and reactionsNo Yes 
Threads Yes Yes 
Channels PrivatePrivate and public
Message formatting Standard Standard 
Emojis and GIFsYesEmojis yes, GIFs no
Overall impression ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔔 Google Chat vs Slack notifications 0:1

This category has a clear winner — Slack, with its powerful and diverse notifications. 

By default, you receive desktop and mobile notifications when:

  • Someone sends you a direct message (DM)
DM Notifications in Slack
DM Notifications in Slack
  • Someone mentions you, or uses your keywords
Mention in Slack
Mention in Slack
  • Someone replies to a thread you’re following
Reply in a thread on Slack
Reply in a thread on Slack
  • You receive a message from Slackbot.
Slackbot on Slack
Slackbot on Slack

Aside from that, you can set Do Not Disturb (DND) mode for certain hours in a day, which is particularly helpful when your team members work across different time zones. This feature also comes in handy when you have an urgent project and don’t want to get distracted

Google Chat, on the other hand, allows you to set up different notifications preferences for your devices.

Notifications in Google Chat
Notifications in Google Chat

All in all, Slack has taken the crown in this category, by being a more customizable solution for your workplace communication. With Slack, you can rest assured that you won’t miss any important messages in your group conversations.

NotificationsGoogle ChatSlack
Notification configurationBasicAdvanced
DND mode Yes Yes 
Mute channels and direct messages Yes Yes 
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔍 Google Chat vs Slack search 0:1

I bet you hate it when you can’t find that important message about the recent changes your boss sent you. Aside from being frustrating, the search can suck up your valuable time and affect your productivity.

Slack really facilitates your search and helps you avoid information overload.

In Slack, you can easily find messages, files, channels, and people.

Search in Slack
Search in Slack

Slack enables you to search for information within a specific period and even allows you to exclude some channels from your search. 

Advanced search in Slack
Advanced search in Slack

Google Chat, on the other hand, offers advanced search options only within the Business and Enterprise packages. 

If you’re using one of these plans, you can search the entire content in Google Workspace (Gmail, Drive, Docs, Slides, etc.).

Otherwise, in a free plan, the search is pretty basic.  

Search in Google Chat
Search in Google Chat

In this category, Slack proved to be much more user-friendly than Google Chat, because it enables you to access all the information you need, anytime. 

SearchGoogle ChatSlack
Message and channel searchYes Yes 
File and people searchYes Yes 
FiltersNo Yes 
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

📂 Google Chat vs Slack file sharing and storage 1:0

Good collaboration is unimaginable without an efficient system for file sharing. Both of these apps do a great job of sharing files, documents, videos, and photos from your computer or from the cloud storage you use. 

Still, thanks to the integrations with all the Google Workspace services, file sharing in Google Chat is easier than ever. For instance, bigger files can be shared as a link to your Google Drive. 

File sharing in Google Chat
File sharing in Google Chat

On the other hand, Slack allows you to share files of up to 1 GB in size in searchable channels, and add critical details and context. 

File sharing in Slack
File sharing in Slack

Speaking of storage, this is when things get a little bit complicated.

Namely, Google Chat’s storage is included in the Google Workspace plan. 

So, if you use a free plan, you get only 15 GB of storage for all your Google Workspace services. 

Slack’s free plan provides you with 5 GB of free storage.

However, the most affordable Google Workspace plan (​​$6 monthly per user) offers you 30 GB of storage, whereas the budget version of Slack ($6.67 monthly per user) gives you 10 GB of storage. 

The next pricing plans offer you 5 TB of storage for $18 and 20 GB of storage for $12.50, for Google Workspace and Slack respectively. 

Google Workspace’s Enterprise plan gives you unlimited storage, whereas Slack’s Enterprise Grid plan gives you 1 TB of storage per member.

This is precisely why Google Chat takes the crown in this category.

File sharing and storageGoogle ChatSlack
Free file storage 15 GB per workspace (within Google Workspace)5 GB per workspace
Secure file sharing NoNo
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🖇️ Google Chat vs Slack integrations 0:1

To ensure a better workflow and collaboration with third parties, integrations come in handy. 

For instance, Google Chat automatically integrates with solutions like Gmail, Google Forms, Google Calendar, Google Meet, Google Drive, and Google Docs. 

Aside from that, there are a number of other available integrations, called Bots. You can easily find them on the right side of your Chat. 

Google Chat Bots
Google Chat Bots

On the other hand, Slack offers you integration with 10 apps in a freemium plan, whereas paid plans provide you with over 2,400 apps. They are organized into categories, which makes your search easier.

Some of Slack’s integrations
Some of Slack’s integrations

The abundance of integrations that Slack offers makes it a clear winner of this category. 

IntegrationsGoogle ChatSlack
Number of integrations113 integrationsOver 2,400 integrations with leading apps 
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ℹ️ Google Chat vs Slack support 0:1

Speaking of support, both apps have a standard support system at your disposal in free plans. These include:

  • Email/Help Desk
  • FAQs/Forum
  • Knowledge Base
Google Chat’s Help center
Google Chat’s Help center

Paid plans for both apps offer a better support experience. 

For instance, Google Chat offers Enhanced Support for Business Standard, Business Plus, and Enterprise plans. 

Slack’s Help center
Slack’s Help center

Slack’s Pro paid plan provides you with priority support. 

In the Business+ plan, Slack offers you 24/7 support with a 4-hour first response time and 99.99% guaranteed uptime SLA. 

In addition to all that, the Enterprise Grid plan offers you designated account and customer success teams. That is why Slack is this category’s winner. 

SupportGoogle ChatSlack
Customer support EnhancedEnhanced
Knowledge baseYesYes 
Customer success teamsNoYes
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔐 Google Chat vs Slack security 1:1

Our last category deals with security and data protection, a crucial topic for all kinds of collaboration and communication. 

Independent verification of security, privacy, and compliance controls is expected and more than welcome.

Both these apps use data encryption in transit and at rest, and they operate comprehensive compliance and assurance programs. 

As a part of Google Workspace, Google Chat undergoes third-party audits. Some of the standards they are audited against are: 

  • ISO/IEC
  • SOC 2
  • SOC 3

Slack is also audited against several compliance and assurance programs, such as:

  • Workspace Admin Control 
  • SOC2
  • SOC3
  • ISO/IEC
  • APEC

If you’re looking for a self-hosted chat and collaboration software, maybe you should consider Pumble, as a great alternative to both Google Chat and Slack, which don’t offer this option.

When it comes to this category, we have a tie. 

SecurityGoogle Chat Slack
Two-factor authenticationYesYes 
Advanced security YesYes 
Data encryptionYesYes
Self-hostingNoNo 
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

💡 Pumble Pro Tip

If you want to find out more on the importance of data security in collaboration and communication tools, read our in-depth guide on that matter:

🏆 Google Chat vs Slack Verdict 

All that’s left is to look at the final numbers, and they show that the winner of our competition is Slack.

Features Google ChatSlack
Pricing (user/month)10
Interface01
Communication11
Notifications01
Search01
File sharing and storage
1

0
Integrations01
Support 01
Security 11
Total score47

We analyzed the main factors that influence your decision when choosing a collaboration and communication tool. 

Both these tools have proven worthy of your consideration, with Slack taking the crown as the better of the two.

With affordable pricing plans and attractive features, these apps offer you almost everything that your team needs.

Still, that doesn’t mean you have to choose either.

Looking for a Google Chat or Slack alternative? Try Pumble

In the end, perhaps you’ll find that neither Google Chat nor Slack fit your teams’ needs.

As an alternative to them, you can try Pumble, a free team messaging app.

Among other things, Pumble offers you:

  • An intuitive interface, 
  • Unlimited users and chat history for free, 
  • Customizable notifications, 
  • Video calls, as well as 
  • 10 GB of free storage space per workspace.  

Also, with Pumble, you’ll get a chance to try a self-hosted solution, which offers you greater security and privacy, as it enables you to host Pumble on your own servers.

All things considered, Pumble is a great choice for all of you who are looking for a secure and relaxed communication platform for both internal and external communication. 

Why not sign up for a free Pumble account now and see for yourself?

Author: JelenaFisic

Jelena Fisic is a writer and researcher, constantly reading and broadening her knowledge about communication and collaboration. As a long-time remote worker, she is eager to share her experiences and gathered knowledge, and give you some tips for improving team communication and collaboration skills while working from home.

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