Turn on classic Hangouts chat

If you have Drive Enterprise edition, upgrade to G Suite Enterprise to get this service.

This setting is for classic Hangouts chat only. For chat with Hangouts Chat, see Turn Hangouts Chat on or off. For a video meeting, see Turn Meet on or off.

Hangouts chat allows users to hold text chats or video calls directly from a Gmail window, mobile device, Chrome browser, or desktop app. As the administrator, you can enable or disable chat history for all users in your organization.

Update your organization’s chat history preferences

Chat history allows users to store the text of their chats in their Gmail account so they can easily search for them later. They can then respond to these chats like they would respond to regular Gmail messages. Users can find chats in Gmail under the Chats label.

  • If you disable chat history for all users, any future chat discussions won't be archived in the users’ Gmail accounts.
  • If chat history was enabled in the past, your users may still have some chat conversations archived after you disable the feature.
  • If you use Google Vault, saved chat messages can still be deleted based on the Vault retention rules.

You can modify the chat history options to determine if chat conversations should be saved.


  • These options do not apply to video calls or chat within video calls.
  • Changes can take up to 24 hours to take effect. Users must refresh their Gmail window to see the changes (and the new chat client option).
  • Chat history changes only apply to new messages. For example, if you turn chat history off, old messages that were previously saved will still be saved. If you turn chat history on, only new messages will be saved.
  • Chat History settings may not be preserved if the G Suite chat service is changed (for example, if you enable or disable Hangouts chat). Verify the Chat History settings are correct.
Use Google Vault to archive messages

If chat history is turned on in Hangouts chat, you can also use Google Vault to manage and archive all of the chat messages for your organization.

To get started:

  1. Enable chat history for your organization’s chat users.
  2. Purchase Google Vault.
  3. Use the Vault retention policies to save email and chat messages for a desired amount of time.
Turn on Hangouts chat for your users

You can turn on Hangouts chat for everyone in your organization or for users in specific organizational units:

  1. Verify that all the required G Suite services are turned on.
  2. Sign in to your Admin console with your full G Suite email address and password.
  3. From the dashboard, go to Apps and then G Suite and then Google Hangouts.
  4. Click Chat settings.
  5. Under Organizations, select the domain or organizational unit for which you want to configure settings.
  6. Select the Chat History settings to determine if users conversations should be saved with users’ Gmail messages.
  7. Click Save Changes.

Note: Photo sharing in Hangouts chat requires Google Photos.

Tailor how Hangouts chat works

You can apply additional chat settings for everyone in the organization or for users in specific organizational units.

For example, you can define the chat history setting to save or discard chat messages for all users. Define the sharing options to warn users when they are having a Hangout with people outside the organization.

Sharing options
Note: The Google network referred to in these options is comprised of G Suite and Gmail users.

Hangouts chat

Setting Description
Display users' chat status outside your domain

Each user's status is automatically shown within your domain. Check this box to show the status of users outside the domain who are in the Google network (users of G Suite and/or Gmail).

Learn more about Hangouts status messages and options.

Warn users when having a Hangout outside your domain name

Check this option to let users know if they are chatting with an external participant.

Users can chat with other users outside your G Suite domain

Uncheck this option to restrict chat to users within your organization. This setting is checked by default and does not apply to video calls.

Note: If you uncheck this box, users can’t use chat in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides.

Chat invitations

The following applies to both Hangouts chat and Google Talk:

Setting Description
Automatically accept invitations between users within your domain
  • Check this setting if you want chat invitations to be automatically accepted among users in your domain (users do not have to manually accept invitations from new contacts).
  • Uncheck this setting if you want users to manually accept invitations from new contacts.
Users can override this setting and block others from communicating with them.
Additional services

To limit users to Hangouts conversations, uncheck Allow users to place voice and video call from Hangouts.

This setting doesn't apply to Meet video meetings.

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