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 a Hangouts Meet 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.
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.
    Tip: See Chat settings for more options and information about the chat history settings.
  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.

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