Google Chat messages overview

This page explains the differences between text and card messages.

When Chat apps send text messages to convey basic information, the messages appear inline, just like how people in Google Chat write messages. To create messages that contain more than text, or to create messages that users can interact with, Chat apps can use cards. Chat apps can also append a text message with a card. To prompt users to finish multi-step processes such as completing a form, Chat apps can also create cards that open in a new window as dialogs.

Anatomy of a text message

In the Google Chat API, messages are represented as JSON objects. Within a message, a text message is represented as a text object.

In the following example, a Chat app creates a text message in a space for a team of software developers that a code freeze is approaching:

{
  "text": "Attention <users/all>: Code freeze starts at `11:59 am` Pacific Standard Time! If you need a little more time, type `/moreTime` and I'll push the code freeze back one hour."
}

The JSON returns the following message:

Example text message in Google Chat that announces code freeze.

Anatomy of a card message

In the Google Chat API, messages are represented as JSON objects. Within a message a card is represented as a cardsV2 array and consists of the following:

  • One or more CardWithId objects.
  • A cardId, used to identify the card and scoped within a given message. (Cards in different messages can have the same ID.)
  • A card object, which consists of the following:

    • A header object that specifies things like a title, subtitle, and avatar-style image.
    • One or more section objects that each contain at least one widget.
    • One or more widget objects. Each widget is a composite object that can represent text, images, buttons, and other object types.

As an example, the following card message contains header, section, and widget objects:

A Chat app running a poll in a Chat
space using a card
message

The following code represents the JSON of the card message:

JSON

{
  "cardsV2": [
    {
      "cardId": "unique-card-id",
      "card": {
        "header": {
          "title": "Sasha",
          "subtitle": "Software Engineer",
          "imageUrl": "https://developers.google.com/chat/images/quickstart-app-avatar.png",
          "imageType": "CIRCLE",
          "imageAltText": "Avatar for Sasha"
        },
        "sections": [
          {
            "header": "Contact Info",
            "collapsible": true,
            "uncollapsibleWidgetsCount": 1,
            "widgets": [
              {
                "decoratedText": {
                  "startIcon": {
                    "knownIcon": "EMAIL"
                  },
                  "text": "sasha@example.com"
                }
              },
              {
                "decoratedText": {
                  "startIcon": {
                    "knownIcon": "PERSON"
                  },
                  "text": "<font color=\"#80e27e\">Online</font>"
                }
              },
              {
                "decoratedText": {
                  "startIcon": {
                    "knownIcon": "PHONE"
                  },
                  "text": "+1 (555) 555-1234"
                }
              },
              {
                "buttonList": {
                  "buttons": [
                    {
                      "text": "Share",
                      "onClick": {
                        "openLink": {
                          "url": "https://example.com/share"
                        }
                      }
                    },
                    {
                      "text": "Edit",
                      "onClick": {
                        "action": {
                          "function": "goToView",
                          "parameters": [
                            {
                              "key": "viewType",
                              "value": "EDIT"
                            }
                          ]
                        }
                      }
                    }
                  ]
                }
              }
            ]
          }
        ]
      }
    }
  ]
}


Design and preview cards with the Card Builder.

Open the Card Builder