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Set a space history option for users

As an administrator, you control the default history setting in unthreaded Google Chat spaces. If you've disabled classic Hangouts at the top-level organizational unit, you can also choose whether users can toggle space history on and off.

Space history options don't apply to classic Hangouts.

Important: For threaded spaces, history is always on. This can never be changed. 

Choose a history setting for unthreaded spaces

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using an account with super administrator privileges (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenGoogle Workspaceand thenGoogle Chat and classic Hangouts.
  3. Click History for spaces.
  4. Choose a space history option:
    • History is ON by default (but users can change it)
    • History is OFF by default (but users can change it)
    • History if ALWAYS ON (ON by default and users can’t change it)
    • History is ALWAYS OFF (OFF by default and users can’t change it)

    You won't see the ALWAYS ON or ALWAYS OFF options if classic Hangouts are allowed at the top-level organizational unit. This applies if your top-level Chat service setting is "Chat preferred," "Chat and classic Hangouts," or "Classic Hangouts only." 

    If you choose a space history ALWAYS ON or ALWAYS OFF option, you’ll no longer see options to enable classic Hangouts. If you want to enable classic Hangouts later, change the space history to “History is ON by default” or “History is OFF by default.”

  5. Click Save.

Interaction with the chat history setting

The interaction between chat and space history depends on the Chat service setting for your top-level organizational unit:

My top-level Chat service setting is "Chat only" or "Both turned off"

If classic Hangouts are disabled at the top-level organizational unit, the chat history options never override the space history setting. You can have separate forced history settings for direct messages and spaces. For example, you can force Chat history off for 1:1 messages and group conversations, and force Chat history on for spaces. 

Note: If you force Chat history to be opposite in chats versus spaces, the history setting will change if users upgrade a group conversation to a space. If you want to avoid this possibility, keep the forced history settings the same. 

My top-level setting is "Chat preferred," "Chat and classic Hangouts," or "Classic Hangouts only"

If classic Hangouts aren't disabled at the top-level organizational unit, the chat history setting can override the space history setting, and there may be circumstances when users can be excluded from spaces. 

Chat history can override space history

The Admin console has a chat history setting that includes an Allow users to change their history setting option. This can force chat history on or off, which may override the default unthreaded space history:

  • If Allow users to change their history setting is on, the default space history setting is used for newly created unthreaded spaces, and users can change the history setting in unthreaded spaces.
  • If Allow users to change their history setting is off, history is forced on or off. The chat history setting therefore overrides the default space history setting for newly created unthreaded spaces, and users can't change the history setting.
Space history Chat history Allow users to change their history setting Result (for unthreaded spaces*)

ON

ON

ON

New spaces have history ON

ON

ON

OFF

New spaces have history ON

ON

OFF

ON

New spaces have history ON

ON

OFF

OFF

New spaces have history OFF
(Chat history is forced OFF, which overrides the Space history default ON setting)

OFF

ON

ON

New spaces have history OFF

OFF

ON

OFF

New spaces have history ON
(Chat history is forced ON, overriding Space history default OFF setting)

OFF

OFF

ON

New spaces have history OFF

OFF

OFF

OFF

New spaces have history OFF

* In threaded spaces, history is always ON. Users cannot change this, even if Allow users to change their history setting is checked.

Note: If a space appearing in Chat was initially created in classic Hangouts as a named group conversation, the default history setting was determined by the Chat history setting. Spaces don’t exist in classic Hangouts, so the Space history default setting did not apply when the named group conversation was created.

Users can be excluded from spaces

If you force chat history on or off by not checking Allow users to change their history setting, there might be times your users can’t join or stay in a space. When someone with a forced chat history setting creates or joins a space, the space's history policy is locked to match that history setting. This means:

  • People with a conflicting forced chat history setting won’t be allowed to join the space.
  • If you change the forced chat history policy, people could be evicted from spaces with a conflicting policy the next time they try to post a message.  

Conflicts are most likely to occur when a space includes external people. They can also happen if you have different forced chat history settings for different sub-organizational units.

History details

  • If history is off, messages are deleted after 24 hours.
  • If you change the space history setting to “Always On” or “Always Off,” this applies to existing spaces as well as new spaces. The history setting for existing spaces might therefore change. 
  • History changes apply to new messages. For example, if a user turns space history on, only new messages are saved. If a user turns space history off, old messages that were previously saved are still saved.
  • Vault can't hold, retain, or search messages that are sent with history turned off. Check with a Vault admin to confirm that these history settings comply with your organization's data retention obligations.
Even if history is turned off, it’s possible that a separate copy of the conversation can be saved. For example, messages might be forwarded to Gmail or saved using a 3rd-party client.
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