Set a room history option for users

As an administrator, you control the default history setting in unthreaded Google Chat rooms. If your organization uses Chat only (but not classic Hangouts), you can also choose whether users can toggle room history on and off.

If your organization uses classic Hangouts only, room history options are not available.

Important: For threaded rooms, history is always on. This can never be changed. Also note that threaded rooms are not available in Frontline or Business Starter editions.  Compare your edition

Changes rolling out for organizations with Chat only

What's changing?

If your organization uses Chat only (and classic Hangouts are disabled)

You’ll see these changes:

  1. New options for room history will allow or prevent people from changing the default history setting for unthreaded rooms. You will therefore be able to force unthreaded room history to always be on or off. (For threaded rooms, history will still always be on.)
  2. The chat history settings will never override the room history settings, so you’ll be able to have separate forced history settings for direct messages and rooms. For example, you’ll be able to have Chat history forced off for 1:1 messages and group conversations and Chat history forced on for unthreaded rooms. The description in Interaction with the chat history setting will no longer apply.  
  3. If you force unthreaded room history to always be on or off, you’ll no longer have options to enable classic Hangouts

If your organization still uses classic Hangouts

You won’t see any changes. The default room history setting may still be overridden by chat history settings, as described in Interaction with the chat history setting

When will the changes happen?

If classic Hangouts are disabled in your organization,  the new options to allow or prevent people from changing the default room history are rolling out to customers now. You can set the new options when you see them, but it may be several days before any changes take effect. This will be a one-time delay that applies only during the roll out of the feature.

Choose a history setting for unthreaded rooms

  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 rooms.
  4. Choose a room 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)

    If you use both Chat and classic Hangouts in your organization, you can only set the default history setting. You won’t see the ALWAYS ON or ALWAYS OFF options. 

    If you use Chat only and choose a room 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 room 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 room history depends on your Chat service setting:

My organization uses Chat only

The chat history options never override the room history setting, so you can have separate forced history settings for direct messages and rooms. For example, you can force Chat history off for 1:1 messages and group conversations, and force Chat history on for rooms.

My organization uses both Chat and classic Hangouts

If your organization uses both Chat and classic Hangouts, the chat history setting can override the room history setting, and there may be circumstances when users can be excluded from rooms. This section applies only if you’ve selected either the “Chat Preferred” or “Chat and classic Hangouts” service setting.

Chat history can override room 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 room history:

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

ON

ON

ON

New rooms have history ON

ON

ON

OFF

New rooms have history ON

ON

OFF

ON

New rooms have history ON

ON

OFF

OFF

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

OFF

ON

ON

New rooms have history OFF

OFF

ON

OFF

New rooms have history ON
(Chat history is forced ON, overriding Room history default OFF setting)

OFF

OFF

ON

New rooms have history OFF

OFF

OFF

OFF

New rooms have history OFF

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

Note: If a room 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. Rooms don’t exist in classic Hangouts, so the Room history default setting did not apply when the named group conversation was created.

Users can be excluded from rooms

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 room. When someone with a forced chat history setting creates or joins a room, the room’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 room.
  • If you change the forced chat history policy, people could be evicted from rooms with a conflicting policy the next time they try to post a message.  

Conflicts are most likely to occur when a room 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 room history setting to “Always On” or “Always Off,” this applies to existing rooms as well as new rooms. The history setting for existing rooms might therefore change. 
  • History changes apply to new messages. For example, if a user turns room history on, only new messages are saved. If a user turns room 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.
Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?

Need more help?

Sign in for additional support options to quickly solve your issue