What's new in Vault

This page is updated as we add features, enhancements, and fixes to Google Vault. Features are typically available to customers within several days of launch, but rollouts can take longer.

November 8, 2021: Drive exports in Vault include approvals metadata

With the launch of approvals for files in Drive, Vault now includes approvals metadata in Drive exports. The metadata includes a list of approvers, the approval status, and the date of the last change in approval status. If you enter a version date as part of your search, the approval metadata reflects the current state, not the state at the time of the version date.

Learn more:

May 10, 2021: New Gmail export metadata CSV file available

Gmail exports will now include 2 metadata files, the classic XML file and a new CSV file. The new CSV format expands our support for third-party content review tools and includes more metadata for Gmail and classic Hangouts messages.

The CSV has 2 new fields:

  • GmailMessageId—A unique identifier for each message that can be used in the Gmail API.
  • Account—The account that was within the scope of the search (sender or receiver)

Also, the Rfc822MessageId value provides an identifier to associate metadata with a message in the export, similar to External FileName in the classic XML file.

Learn more

April 27, 2021: Change in behavior for the Drive search operators "to:" and "from:"

The way that the Drive search operators to: and from: match files in Google Vault has changed. They won't match files shared before March 2021. Their new behavior makes these operators more intuitive for Drive searches. It also lets you determine not only who has access to a file, but who gave those users access.

As of February 2021, a new search operator, sharedwith:, is available and offers similar matching as the to: operator did before the change. An existing search operator, owner:, offers the same matching as the from: operator did before the change.

Learn more
April 27, 2021: Support for new Google Sites

You can now retain, hold, search and export sites created in new Google Sites.

By default, sites are covered by Drive retention rules. You can also set Sites-specific retention rules.

To hold, search, and export sites, use Drive holds and search. You can filter search results to only sites with the new term type:site. You can also search for sites by published URL.

Learn more:
December 3, 2020: Support for new group chats in Google Chat and Chat–classic Hangouts interoperability

Chat is introducing 2 changes to groups messages:

  1. New group chats created in Chat are handled like unthreaded rooms and users can change the membership of those group chats. Existing group chats are still handled as group messages.
  2. If your organization still uses classic Hangouts, most group messages are synced between Chat and classic Hangouts.

Vault handles these new group chats differently from existing group messages, affecting the scope of retention, holds, and search. Because they’re more like rooms, Vault now uses “Chat spaces” to refer to threaded rooms, unthreaded rooms, and new group chats.

Though most group messages are synced between Chat and classic Hangouts, we recommend Vault users continue to use Gmail search to find messages in classic Hangouts. Messages in classic Hangouts that are deleted by your users and are retained by Vault don't sync to Chat. If Vault users select Chat as the data type for a search, the deleted messages aren't returned.

Learn more:

November 24, 2020: New and improved Vault

We’ve launched a new, modern, Material Design-based version of Vault. It’s easier to navigate, with new productivity features for faster task completion.

No migration is required to use the new site. It uses the same backend system as the classic site (ediscovery.google.com). You’ll find the same matters, retention rules, and holds in both sites until ediscovery.google.com is disabled.

To use the new website, go to vault.google.com and sign in with your managed Google Account. 

What’s changed:

  • When you first sign in, instead of opening the Matters page, you open a home page with 3 options: Retention, Matters, and Reporting.
  • When you set up retention rules and holds, you follow step-by-step flows with more tooltips to guide you through the process.
  • Custom retention rules, holds, and search results are listed in a sortable, filterable tables. You can more easily understand the scope of your information governance policies and search results.
  • When you explore search results and hold reports, you keep your context. Clicking an item now opens a side panel instead of taking you to a new page.

What hasn’t changed:

  • Your existing settings, saved queries, or export files. Your data and settings are available in both sites.
  • Vault functionality. Everything you could do in classic Vault is available in new Vault.

In the Vault Help Center, you’ll find instructions for both versions until classic Vault is shut down.

November 16, 2020: Support for unthreaded rooms in Google Chat

With the release of unthreaded rooms in Chat, you can retain, hold, search, and export messages in these new rooms. Vault handles these messages differently from messages in threaded rooms (rooms where messages are grouped into conversations).

Learn more:

October 28, 2020: Support for Google Voice for G Suite

Vault now supports Google Voice for G Suite. You can retain, hold, search, and export text messages, voicemails and their transcripts, and call logs. Note: Google Voice for G Suite doesn’t support recording calls and Vault has no access to voice calls.

Learn more:

October 14, 2020: Count API now available

The Vault API now includes a Count API. Use the Count API to get the number of messages, files, or other data items that match a search query. You can use the number of items to estimate the size of the export, and then choose to proceed with the export or adjust the query to retrieve fewer items.

For more information, see the Count API documentation and review an example.

October 8, 2020: Support for Meet Q&A and polls logs associated with Meet recordings

With the release of Q&A and polls in Google Meet, Vault supports retention, holds, and search of Q&A and polls logs associated with Meet recordings.

Learn more:

September 16, 2020: Data Export tool now includes deleted data retained by Vault

When you export your organization’s data with the Data Export tool, data that’s deleted but retained or held by Vault is now included in the organization-wide export. You no longer need to use Vault to do additional exports that include the deleted but retained data.

September 9, 2020: Clearer message status in Chat exports

Chat export files now use the same format as Vault preview to report the edited or deleted status of a message:

Message status Format before New format
Edited +date Edited on date
Deleted by user or Vault retention rule -date Deleted on date
May 26, 2020: Support for external users in Google Chat

Your G Suite admin can now allow users in your organization to chat with external users (Learn more). Vault can retain, hold, search, and export Chat messages from external users as follows:

  • You can retain, hold, search, and export direct messages (DMs) between external users and users in your organization when archiving is turned on.
  • You can search and export messages sent by external users in rooms created by someone in your organization.
  • You can't retain, hold, search, or export messages sent by users in your organization in rooms owned by another organization.

Learn more:

January 15, 2020: Protection for Google Chat and classic Hangouts messages
All Google Chat and classic Hangouts messages are now protected by Chat holds and retention rules. Gmail holds and retention rules no longer protect classic Hangouts messages.
March 7, 2019: Support for Gmail confidential mode messages and Jamboard

Gmail confidential mode

Gmail confidential mode lets users restrict recipients' access to sensitive email content. This feature is available to organizations that turn on the feature and personal Gmail accounts.

When a user sends a confidential message, Gmail replaces the message body and attachments with a link. Only the subject and link are sent using SMTP.

Confidential mode messages sent by users in your domain

If your organization enables Gmail confidential mode, Vault can hold, retain, search, and export confidential mode messages sent by users in your organization after November 30, 2018.

Messages are available to Vault even when the sender sets an expiration date or revokes recipients' access to confidential mode messages.

Confidential mode messages received from outside your domain 

Even if your organization doesn't enable Gmail confidential mode, your users might receive confidential mode messages from users in other organizations or personal Gmail accounts.

You can hold, retain, search, and export message headers and subjects of external confidential messages. However, you can't search or export message content or attachments from external confidential messages.

Note: Google Workspace admins can create a compliance rule that blocks the delivery of incoming confidential mode messages to your organization.

Working with confidential mode messages

Vault supports confidential mode messages as follows:

  • Vault returns internal confidential messages that match your search query.
  • When you preview messages, the message content is hidden by default. You have the option to show the content in preview.
  • When you print or export messages, you can exclude confidential message content. When you choose this option, the headers, sender, recipient, and other metadata are printed or exported, but the confidential message content isn't.
  • To search for, retain, or hold confidential messages exclusively, use the term label:confidentialmode.


Vault now fully supports Jamboard files that users have saved to their Drives:

  • Holds and retention rules now cover jams that users have saved to Drive. Unsaved jams are discarded when the Jamboard session ends and are unavailable to Vault.
  • You can search, preview, and export jams. Use type:jam to search specifically for Jamboard files.
Announcement archive
November 6, 2018: Vault makes it easier to assess the scope of a Gmail search
You can now assess the scope of a query when searching for messages in Gmail. After entering search terms, click Count to display the number of messages that match your query, along with the number of accounts that have matching messages. You can also download a CSV file that includes message totals per account for your query. Learn more about assessing the scope of a query.
June 26, 2018: Consistent hash values for Docs, Sheets, and Slides exports

When you export Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, Vault now generates a unique hash value for each file. You can use this new hash value to deduplicate file exports and to verify that the exported file is an exact copy of the custodian's source file.

How you search for a file controls how Vault generates the hash value:

  • If your search includes a version date, it's used to generate the hash value.
  • The last modified date is used when the search doesn't include a version date.

When comparing hash values among exports, keep the following in mind:

  • If a file's content changes, its hash value also changes.
  • If someone changes sharing permissions on a file but not the content, the hash value doesn't change.
  • If you export a file multiple times and use different version dates, the hash values differ even if the file content is identical among the exports.

The source hash is one of the parameters included in the Vault XML file when you export from Drive. Learn more about Drive export metadata.

June 21, 2018: Additional retention controls and Vault search improvements

We've added more granular controls to retention rules:

  • You can set custom Drive retention rules that expunge files a specified number of days after users move them to trash.
  • You can set default and custom retention rules for Hangouts Meet recordings. Previously Meet recordings were subject to applicable Drive retention rules.

Important: The Meet retention feature adds a new settings page in Vault where you can enable retention for apps that store files in Drive. You must create retention rules for Hangouts Meet before you enable this setting. Learn more about how to avoid data loss while setting up retention for Hangouts Meet.

We've also added new features to make it easier and more efficient to search for data in Vault:

  • Quickly perform multiple searches in a matter—after you start a search in Gmail or Groups, you can click the Search in new tab button to open a new search dialog in the same matter. Your initial search will complete in the first tab.
  • Search status—while a search is in progress, Vault reports the time elapsed and the query parameters you entered.
  • Improved count functionality—when you enter a query and click the Count button, Vault reports the number of matches and time elapsed. You can also download a CSV file that lists the accounts with messages that match your query.

Additionally, we've added new metadata fields to Hangouts Chat exports:

  • roomName—the name of the room or a comma-separated list of accounts that are members of a direct message (DM)
  • conversationType—room or DM

When you export messages from Hangouts Chat, Vault now combines multiple conversations into a single PST or mbox file. Before today, each conversation was exported in a separate file.

February 28, 2018: Full support for Hangouts Chat
Vault now supports Hangouts Chat. You can retain, hold, search, and export direct messages and conversations from rooms. Learn more about Vault and Hangouts Chat. 

Additional Vault help topics:

September 18, 2017: Support for PST exports

You can now export Gmail, chat, and Groups messages as PST files. This feature makes it possible for you to review messages in Microsoft Outlook, as well as third-party litigation support tools that support this format.

June 12, 2017: Improved Drive metadata, time zone support, and shared drives retention

Get more detailed metadata when exporting files from Drive

When you export files from Drive, the metadata includes information about users who have an indirect relationship to a document. Additionally, Vault gives you the option to determine what that relationship is.

Learn more about users with indirect access to files and your options when exporting from Drive.

Select a time zone during search and export operations

Previously Vault used Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) for all searches and added extra day to include results from earlier time zones. Vault now supports time zone selection for search and export operations. You can specify a time zone when searching for data, and then Vault determines the boundaries of dates for displaying and exporting results.

The new time zone setting affects only search and export operations.

Important: Organizations that span multiple time zones may see different search results compared to those delivered before this feature was released. Learn more about searching for data based on time zones

Create custom retention rules for all shared drives in your domain

You can now create custom retention rules that cover all shared drives in your domain. 

Set retention rules for specific Google Groups

You can now apply custom retention rules to specific Google Groups. 

March 9, 2017: Full support for Google Drive, shared drives, and Google Groups

Full support for Google Drive, including shared drives

You can now set retention rules and place legal holds on files in Google Drive, making it a fully supported app in Vault.

You can now also search, export, set retention rules, and place legal holds on files stored in shared drives. 

Note: Drive retention and holds work a bit differently than what you've grown accustomed to with Gmail retention and holds. We recommend you review these articles as you consider the hold and retention policies that work best for your organization:

Export point-in-time Google Drive files

Vault only searches the latest version of a file. However, you can now add a version date to your search to view and export Google files as they existed on that date. Versioning is supported in most Google file types:

  • Docs
  • Slides
  • Sheets
  • Drawings

Versioning isn't supported in Google Forms, Apps Script, or any non-Google file type.

Use Vault for Google Groups

Vault now works with Groups, meaning you can search, export, and set retention policies, and place legal holds on content in Groups.

June 30, 2016: A more intuitive user interface for retention and holds
Vault has an updated user interface that makes it more intuitive for you to manage retention rules and legal holds. This change does not affect your current retention rules and holds, nor does it add new settings.
April 28, 2016: Improved support for extremely large exports
Vault now makes it easier for you to manage extremely large exports that take over 24 hours to process. Previously these exports were terminated, leaving you with no option to download files. Vault exports now pause after 24 hours, at which time you can:
  • Download partial results—The messages and files that Vault retrieved up to that point are available for download. Also included is a CSV file that lists accounts that have not yet been exported.
  • Continue an export—Vault resumes where it left off, retrieving additional messages and files for another 24 hours. You can continue an export as many times as necessary to retrieve all messages and files that match your search query.

If you do not download partial results or resume a paused export before 15 days have elapsed, the export is deleted.

August 12, 2015: Changes to the way you work with holds
We’re introducing several improvements to the way Vault administrators create and manage holds:
  • Assign hold privileges based on organizational units—Vault administrators can be limited to creating and managing holds for users within specific organizational units rather than an entire domain.
  • Holds based on organizational units—Previously, you could create holds for specific user accounts or an entire domain. Now you can create holds that apply to all members of a specific organizational unit.
  • More intuitive hold functionality—Previously, if you removed all accounts from a hold, Vault would apply the hold to all accounts in the domain. Now, you’re prompted to delete a hold if you try to remove all accounts.
  • Enhanced user interface—The language and interface for applying holds is improved and is similar to the recently updated retention flow.
July 6, 2015: A change to the way you set new retention rules
The way you set new retention rules has changed. This change does not affect your current retention settings. Existing rules continue to retain and delete messages according to their original configuration. With the change, you're now prompted to select one of the following options when you set up a new rule, or modify an existing rule:
  • Retention rule applies to deleted messages only—If you select this option, the rule only affects messages that have been deleted by users. This is the default option for new rules and is equivalent to adding label:^deleted to a custom retention rule.
  • Retention rule applies to deleted messages and messages in user mailboxes—If you select this option, the rule applies to all messages except those that meet any custom rules or holds you specify. If you open an existing custom retention rule that uses label:^deleted, it has this option selected. However, your custom rule continues to work according to your original configuration, overrides the option, and only deleted messages are affected.

Remember: Vault is fully integrated with Gmail, and there is no separate archive. Choosing the second option above means that you want the rule to apply to all messages, whether users have marked the messages for deletion or not. This option can potentially delete messages that your users expect to keep. For example, if you set a default retention rule to retain messages for 365 days and select the second option (to apply to all messages), and you have no custom rules or holds, Vault deletes every message in your domain that is older than 1 year.

Setting up the retention policies that your organization needs can be complicated, so we've put together this article to help you. Contact G Suite Support if you need any additional help.

April 8, 2015: Full support for Hangouts chats

Vault now fully supports Hangouts chats. You can retain, hold, search, and export chats that occur within Hangouts with history turned on. Additionally, administrators can now control whether history is on or off.

Full Vault support is only available for Hangouts that take place after this date. For Hangouts that occurred before this feature was launched:

  • only on-the-record chats can be searched, exported, and placed on hold
  • retention policies are not properly applied to Hangouts messages


December 23, 2014: System and user labels included with message preview and export

Vault previews and exports now include several additional pieces of information to help you analyze messages:

  • Message previewsYou can now view system labels, which show the status of each message from the message owner's perspective. You can also see any labels applied to the message by the user.
  • Message exportsYou can now view any labels applied to the message by the user.
September 29, 2014: Organizational unit-based matter collaboration

A G Suite admin can now restrict access to matters based on organizational units. If this is enabled, a Vault user can share matters only with members of the specified organizational units and their sub-units. Learn more about Vault privileges and how to assign them.

September 4, 2014: No limits on searching large domains

Vault no longer restricts how many accounts you can search for messages. Please note that you may experience delays when searching and counting over domains with more than 50,000 accounts.

July 9, 2014: Improved error reporting

Vault now reports additional information when messages in Gmail or files in Drive are unavailable for export. Learn more about error reports.

June 25, 2014: Vault for Drive and G Suite Business

Vault for Drive

Vault's robust functionality now includes another data source—Drive—so that your organization can find even more business-critical content. Vault for Drive comes at no additional cost for Vault customers and works with existing Drive content in your users' accounts. Postini customers transitioning to Vault will also be able to use Vault for Drive at no additional cost once the transition is complete.

With Vault for Drive, here’s what you can do with all of your Drive content, including both Google documents (such as Docs, Sheets, Slides) and other stored files (like DOCX, PDF, and JPEG):

  • Search for specific users’ Drive files.
  • Preview search results in Vault to make sure you find just what you need.
  • Create copies of search results and export them for future use.

Setting retention policies, creating holds, and conducting domain-wide searches for Drive content are not available at this time. Get started searching for files in Google Drive.

G Suite Business

G Suite Business is the enhanced office suite. In addition to everything available in G Suite Basic, it includes unlimited Google Drive storage and Google Vault for everyone in your organization, plus additional Drive administration, audit, and reporting features. Learn more about G Suite Business.

If your organization uses partial-domain licensing and you upgrade to G Suite Business, Vault is automatically available to everyone. All users will be subject to your current data retention and deletion policies. Read About upgrading to G Suite Business to ensure you don't accidentally lose data.
June 19, 2014: Exclude draft messages in Gmail

You can more easily exclude draft messages from searches, and when creating retention rules and holds.

May 30, 2014: Assign Vault privileges based on organization unit

The Manage Exports and Manage Searches privileges can now be granted to a user for an entire organization, or only for specific organizational units (OUs). For example, you can assign a Vault administrator the Manage Searches privilege for your whole organization and the Manage Exports privilege for one OU. Privileges are still assigned in the Admin console by your G Suite administrator.

May 14, 2014: Improved options for setting custom and default retention periods

The options for setting or modifying retention periods are now more clear, and we’ve added safeguards when setting a retention period for a specified number of days.

May 1, 2014: Organizational unit-based search

Vault users can now search for data within a specific organizational unit (OU), in addition to searching the entire domain or searching by user account. Searching within an OU reduces the number of irrelevant search results that a domain-wide search can produce, and eliminates the need to specify individual accounts. When performing a search within a matter, select Organization then select the OU you want to search. Accounts cannot be included in an OU-based search, but you can still optionally specify a date range and search terms.

January 21, 2014: Targeted legal holds

Admins can now hold specific messages—for example, from a certain date or with certain terms—for indefinite preservation in Vault. Only messages that meet the specified parameters are preserved. Previously, Vault admins had to put an entire user account on hold to preserve messages in that account. Holding an entire account is still possible.  Learn more about the two types of holds.

December 5, 2013: Improved preview for custom retention rules

The preview function allows Vault admins to examine the content that a custom retention rule will retain once it is set. Admins no longer have to enter a username. When admins click the Preview button, Vault displays results based on what the admin selected—a specific OU or the whole domain. Previously, admins had to enter a username to preview the results of a custom rule. Learn more about retention rules.

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