Steam announced that they have released the new Steam chat features available to all users. Those features have been in beta since June 12, 2018. The new features include an all-new friends list, chat, and voice chat.
The friends list has become more organized and flexible. It includes the following:
Favorites: Keep your favorite friends, groups, and chats right at the top of your Friends List, making it easy to check in on what you care about most.
Grouped by Game: You can see which friends are playing a specific game. You can also see if the friends who are playing the same game are grouped in a party.
Rich Presence: Games can now show details in the Friends list. It can show where friends are at in a game, if they are involved in a match or just starting out, whether they’re available for matchmaking, what party they’re playing with, or whatever the game developer chooses.
Group Chats: The new Steam Chat has a section called Group Chats. You can read the name of the chat to get an idea about what is likely being discussed, and join in.
Multi-Media Friendly: Every chat on Steam is now multi-media friendly. Getting your point across is easier than ever, now that everyone can see your GIFs inline rather than a list of links. Paste a picture from the clipboard and upload it directly to the chat.
Add Friends to a Chat: You can bring a friend into a conversation. Drag and Drop your friends from the Friend’s List to send them an invite.
Save Your Group: You can save your group chat with a title and avatar so you can chat or play together later. This makes it easy to pick up where you left off.
Add Channels: Within any group, create a new persistent channel any time, either for text or voice. It’s just one click to create a channel, one click to join, and one click to leave.
Invite with a Link: You can create and send links that will invite people directly into your group chat.
The new Steam Chat also includes improved voice capabilities. At a glance, you can see if your friends are talking in a voice channel and join them.
The voice chat was rewritten with a new WebRTC-based backend. It uses high quality Opus encoding, voice traffic is encrypted, and all traffic is sent through Steam servers rather than directly to your peers. Steam says this keeps your IP address private, which masks your physical location and also prevents network attacks.