Chat settings

Google Hangouts replaces all other chat experiences, including Google Chat and Google Talk. Google Apps for Work administrators can decide whether or not to switch to this new messaging experience for their organization.

Users can chat with anyone who has a Google Apps account by signing in to Gmail with their Google Apps account.

To make sure your users get the most out of chat, enable Hangouts chat as the only option in your organization.

To manage your domain's chat settings:

  1. Sign in to the Google Admin console.
  2. Click Apps > Google Apps > Talk/Hangouts.
  3. Click Sharing Settings.
  4. Adjust the settings as described below.
Chat

Although only Google Talk is enabled by default for new organizations, administrators can select one of the following options to enable only Hangouts chat for all users, or both Google Talk and Hangouts chat.  

Your selection also determines if chat conversations should be saved, allowing users to access saved conversations in Gmail  (under “Chat”) or in the Hangouts conversation window. 

If only Google Talk or Hangouts chat are enabled, you can also prevent users from changing their chat history. If both options are enabled, users can always change this setting for each conversation (administrators cannot enforce the policy). See Chat History for more information.

Notes:

  • Changes can take up to 24 hours to take affect. 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.
  • If a Google Talk option is enabled, users may still be able to save conversations locally when using 3rd-party clients. This does not impact the Google Hangouts setting or policy. Hangouts-only users cannot use 3rd-party clients.
Chat option Description Chat history
Hangouts chat only

Enables Hangouts chat for all users in the organizational unit.

Existing users will be switched to the new chat service when they refresh Gmail. Notify users by sending this sample announcement email.

Users cannot see or use chat messages within shared Google docs or Hangout video calls.

Chat conversations are saved in Gmail by default.

  • Select History is Off to discard new chat conversations for all users.  Previously saved conversations are retained, but any new text is deleted after a short period of time.
  • Select History is On to save new conversations. Old conversations are not saved.
  • Select Don’t allow users to change this setting to force all conversations to be saved or never saved in the participant’s account. Otherwise, users can change their history setting for each conversation.

Note: If chat history was enabled in the past, your users may still have some chat conversations saved after you disable the feature.

Hangouts chat or Google Talk

Allows users to use either Hangouts chat or Google Talk.

Existing users will need to opt in to the Hangouts chat service. 

Use the Chat History options to turn history on or off by default for all users.
  • Users can change this setting.  
  • Select the Hangouts chat only option to prevent users from changing the history setting.
Google Talk only

Only Google Talk is enabled.  Users cannot switch to Hangouts chat.

Existing users will be switched to Google Talk when they refresh Gmail.

Talk sessions are saved in Gmail by default.  

  • Select History is Off to prevent users’ future conversations from being saved in Gmail. Previously saved messages are retained, but any new text is deleted after a short period of time.
  • If you don't disable chat history, your users will be able to control their own chat history settings. See Chat history to learn more.

Note: If chat history was enabled in the past, your users may still have some chat conversations saved after you disable the feature.

These options do not apply to video calls or chat within video calls.
Chat History settings may not be preserved when the Google Apps chat service is changed (for example, if you enable or disable Hangouts chat). Verify the Chat History settings are correct for the selected chat option. See Switch back to Google Talk for more information.
Sharing options
Note: These options do not apply to video calls or chat within video calls. The Google network referred to in these options is comprised of Google Apps and Gmail users.
Hangouts chat
Setting Description
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. This setting is unchecked by default for new domains, and otherwise inherits its setting from Talk. This setting does not work if contact sharing is off.
Users can chat with other users outside your Google Apps 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.
Google Talk
Within the Google network
User status
  • Display users' chat status outside your domain
    Each user's status is automatically shown within your domain. Check this box to show the custom status messages of your users to other users in the Google network.

  • Warn users when chatting outside this domain
    Check this to warn users when they're chatting in the Google network, but outside your domain if you've allowed that option. This applies to chat in Gmail.

  • Users can chat with other users outside this domain
    Uncheck this option to restrict chat to users within your domain.

    This option is available only in Google Apps for Work, Education, and Government editions.
Outside the Google network
User ability
  • To enable your users to chat in a larger federated network, update your domain's Service (SRV) records. Learn more

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.
This option does not apply to video calls or chat within video calls.
Additional services

Hangouts chat

Uncheck Allow users to place voice and video call from Hangouts to limit users to Hangouts conversations. This setting is checked by default.

Google Talk

Use these settings to control whether your users can initiate voice or video calls.

Setting Description
Allow users to place phone calls to landline and mobile phones from chat

This option to make computer-to-phone calls is not available if your declared country is in the blocked list found here.

Within chat, this option is called Call phone.

Allow users to place voice calls from chat to other chat users This option enables computer-to-computer voice calls.
Allow users to place video calls Allows users to start and join Hangouts video calls.