Supported services and data types

Vault supports the following Google Workspace services:

Service Retention Hold Search and export Supported data types
Gmail Learn more
Google Drive Learn more
Google Groups Learn more
Google Chat Learn more
Classic Hangouts Covered by Chat rules Covered by Chat holds Use Gmail search and export Learn more

Google Meet

Covered by Drive rules unless Meet-specific rules are turned on Covered by Drive holds Use Drive search and export Learn more
Google Voice for Google Workspace Learn more
Google Sites Covered by Sites rules unless Sites-specific rules are turned off Covered by Drive holds Use Drive search and export Learn more

Note: If your Google Workspace edition doesn't include a service, you might still have those services as options in the Vault site. However, any retention rules or holds set for an unsupported service have no effect, and searches return no results.

Gmail messages supported in Vault

The following information applies to Gmail retention rules, holds, and search and export.

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Message availability, indexing, and attachments

Messages are available to Vault as soon as Gmail receives them.

For message filtering in retention rules, holds, and search, Gmail indexes approximately 1 MB total per message. 1 MB is equivalent to approximately 250 pages of text. If the message text is less than 1 MB and the message has attachments, the attachments are indexed until 1 MB total data is indexed.

Only indexed data is searchable in Vault, but the entire message and all attachments are included in a Vault export.

Gmail indexes the following data:

  • Message text—Up to approximately 250 pages.
  • Text-based files directly attached to a message—Most text-based files, such as PDF, XLSX, and DOCX, that are directly attached to a message, can be indexed. These attachments are covered by retention rules and holds. Text-based file attachments are searchable (if indexed), returned in search results, and included in exports.
  • Other files directly attached to or embedded in a message—For video, audio, image, and binary files included in or attached to messages, file metadata such as file name is indexed, but file contents aren't. These attachments and embedded files are covered by retention rules and holds. They're returned in search results and included in exports.
  • Links to Google Workspace files in Drive—When someone uses a message to share Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms, the message contains a link instead of an attached copy of the file. Because the original file is stored in Drive, the original file isn't included when you retain, hold, search, or export messages.
  • Links to content in additional Google services—Users can also share links to content stored in other Google products like YouTube and Google Photos. Vault doesn't support additional Google services, so you can't retain, hold, search, or export their content.
Messages sent through other Google services (comprehensive mail storage)

Users can send email messages with some core services besides Gmail. For example:

  • Calendar—outgoing invitations and messages sent with the Email guests option in Calendar.
  • Drive—message content sent when users share files in Drive.
  • Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings—messages sent by the app when users email files as attachments.
  • Forms—email messages containing forms or links to forms.
  • Keep—email messages sent when users share notes in Keep.

When users send messages through core services other than Gmail, outgoing messages aren't stored in users' Gmail sent folders by default. Unless a Google Workspace administrator sets up comprehensive message storage, which saves these messages in users' sent folders, Vault doesn't have access to these messages. Without comprehensive message storage, Vault retention rules and holds don't apply to these messages, and these messages aren't returned in a Vault search.

Note: Comprehensive mail storage applies only to core Google Workspace services. Some additional Google services can send email messages for users. Messages sent by those services might not be stored in users' sent folder and might be unavailable to Vault.

Dynamic messages (AMP content)

Dynamic email messages contain markup that displays AMP content within Gmail. Other Google products can send messages that include AMP content, and users in your organization might receive dynamic email messages from external senders.

With dynamic email, a Gmail user can, for example:

  • Review Google Docs comments as they exist the moment the user opens the notification message in Gmail.
  • Reply to and resolve comments without opening the doc.
  • Reply to Calendar invitations and respond to surveys.

The original source of a dynamic email message contains 3 types of similar content:

  • Plaintext (for email clients that display only plaintext).
  • HTML (for email clients that don't display dynamic content).
  • AMP markup. When a Gmail user opens the message, they get the dynamic and interactive AMP content. The AMP markup can retrieve any updates at the time the message is opened and immediately display them to the user.

Because of the dynamic nature of these messages, the content displayed in Gmail can change over time. For example, a comment notification from an active Google Doc can be different each time the user reopens the same message over several days.

Vault support for dynamic email messages

  • Retention and holds—Vault retention rules and holds preserve the HTML, plaintext, and AMP markup included in a dynamic email message. Vault has no way to preserve the dynamic content that may be retrieved and displayed when the user opens a dynamic email message.
  • Search—Vault can search plaintext and HTML in a dynamic email message. However, AMP markup and AMP content aren't indexed and can't be searched.
  • Preview—When you preview a dynamic email message, Vault displays the HTML version of the message. Click Show Original to view all parts of the message, including the AMP markup.
  • Export—When you export dynamic email messages, all plaintext, HTML, and AMP markup is included in the export.

Vault can't determine whether Gmail users actually got dynamic content when they opened a message that includes AMP markup. Gmail doesn't display dynamic content in the following scenarios:

  • An administrator turns off dynamic email for your organization.
  • Users change their Gmail settings to turn off dynamic email.

When dynamic email is turned off, AMP content isn't displayed by Gmail. However, AMP markup is still included in the message source and available in Vault.

Confidential mode messages

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 organization

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 from external senders

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.
Draft messages and email templates

A user's Gmail data can include 3 types of draft messages:

  • Unsent messages in the Drafts folder—These messages are processed like other Gmail messages. They’re subject to holds and retention rules when drafts aren’t excluded. They're also included in search results unless you exclude them.

    Note: Email templates are treated as draft messages. If a retention rule purges draft messages after a set time, templates are also purged.

  • Discarded drafts—A discarded draft is a message that a user discards without sending. These messages are immediately removed from the user's view, Gmail applies the ^deleted label, and they're purged 30 days after they’re discarded. These messages aren’t subject to holds or retention rules, but are available for search and export until they’re purged.
  • Automatically saved versions of draft messages—As a user composes a message, Gmail automatically saves a version whenever the user pauses for a few seconds. Only the most recent version of a draft message is visible to the user. Earlier versions are available for Vault to search and export, but aren't subject to holds and retention rules.

    Autosaved versions remain available to Vault until they're purged, even after the user sends the message. Versions of draft messages generated by most Google Gmail clients (such as the Gmail web, Gmail for iPad and iPhone, and Gmail Android) are purged 1 day after Gmail saved them. In some cases, such as with third-party IMAP clients, versions of draft messages are purged after 30 days.

If you're only interested in messages that users sent and received, you can exclude drafts from retention rules, holds, search results, and exports. Excluding autosaved versions can make data processing easier because you don't have similar versions of the same message.

System-generated Gmail labels can affect term matching

Gmail uses system-generated labels to categorize messages and user-visible labels to let users sort messages in their inboxes. Gmail might apply the system-generated finance label to messages that come from a user's bank and the system-generated travel label to messages that include hotel reservations.

Users can create and apply user-visible labels. Sometimes, these labels can match system-generated labels. When the 2 types of labels match, Vault applies retention rules, holds, and search queries to the messages with the user-created label and not to messages with the identical system-generated label. If you create a retention rule, hold, or search query based on a label, you might include or exclude more messages than you intend.

Example

Your organization is required to retain all data related to corporate finance for 7 years and the following actions occur:

  • Employees are instructed to create a label, finance, and apply it to messages that include corporate financial information.
  • Employees have their corporate credit card statements emailed to their work accounts. They don’t apply the user-created finance label, but Gmail applies the system-generated finance label to these messages.

In this scenario, a retention rule that includes messages with label:finance retains only the user-labeled messages and not the messages with the system-generated label that have the employees' corporate credit card statements. Similarly, a search query that includes messages with label:finance returns only the user-labeled messages and not the messages with the system-generated label that have the employees' personal bank statements.

Common system-generated labels

  • personal
  • social
  • promotion
  • promos
  • updates
  • forums
  • travel
  • purchases
  • finance
  • all
  • buzz
  • chat
  • chats
  • done
  • draft
  • drafts
  • important
  • inbox
  • lowpriority
  • low_priority
  • mute
  • muted
  • pinned
  • read
  • reminder
  • reminders
  • scheduled
  • sent
  • snoozed
  • spam
  • phishing
  • star
  • starred
  • task
  • tasks
  • trash
  • trips
  • unimportant
  • unread
  • voicemail
  • saved 

Drive and Meet files supported in Vault

The following information applies to Drive retention rules, Meet-specific retention rules, Drive holds, and Drive search and export.

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Supported file types

Vault can retain, hold, search, and export the following items stored in Drive:

  • Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, new Sites, and Drawings
  • Google Meet recordings and any associated chat, Q&A, and polls logs (Learn more about Meet recordings)
  • Jamboard files that have been saved to users' Drives
  • Non-Google files that users have uploaded to Drive
  • Files in shared drives

Vault ignores folders and Drive shortcuts.

Linked files

In some Google Docs editors, users can link a file to another file. For example, in a Google Docs document you can insert a chart that's linked to data in a Google Sheets spreadsheet. Whenever the spreadsheet is updated, the chart in the document is also updated.

Linked files aren't automatically included in retention rules, holds, or search results that apply to the files that link to them. Linked files are included only when they also match the scope and conditions. For example, when you search files in Drive, Vault returns only the files that match your search criteria. If those files are linked to files that don't match your query, the linked files aren't included in your results.

Files owned by external users

Files created outside your organization and shared with your users aren't subject to your organization’s holds or retention rules.

You can search and export files shared with your users from external sources.

Google Groups messages supported in Vault

The following information applies to Groups retention rules, holds, and search and export.

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Conversation history (archiving) must be turned on

Vault can hold, retain, and search only messages in Google Groups that have conversation history turned on. Group owners can turn conversation history on or off for their groups. If a group owner creates a group with conversation history off, the messages aren't available to Vault through Groups. The messages might be available in user Gmail mailboxes (as received or sent messages).

If a group owner turns conversation history on or off for an existing group, only messages sent when conversation history was on are available to Vault.

Message availability, indexing, and attachments

Messages are available to Vault as soon as they're posted to a group, unless the group owner chooses to moderate messages. Moderated messages aren't available to Vault until a moderator approves them. After they're approved, they're available for retention, holds, search, and export just like any other message.

For message filtering in retention rules, holds, and search, Groups indexes approximately 1 MB total per message. 1 MB is equivalent to approximately 250 pages of text. If the message text is less than 1 MB and the message has text-based file attachments, the attachments are indexed until 1 MB total data is indexed.

Groups indexes the following data:

  • Message text—Up to approximately 250 pages.
  • Text-based files directly attached to a message—Most text-based files, such as PDF, XLSX, and DOCX, that are directly attached to a message, can be indexed. These attachments are covered by retention rules and holds. Text-based file attachments are searchable (if indexed), returned in search results, and included in exports.
  • Other files directly attached to or embedded in a message—For video, audio, image, and binary files included in or attached to messages, file metadata such as file name is indexed, but file contents aren't. These attachments and embedded files are covered by retention rules and holds. They're returned in search results and included in exports.
  • Links to Google Workspace files in Drive—When someone uses a message to share Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms, the message contains a link instead of an attached copy of the file. Because the original file is stored in Drive, the original file isn't included when you retain, hold, search, or export messages.
  • Links to content in additional Google services—Users can also share links to content stored in other Google products like YouTube and Google Photos. Vault doesn't support additional Google services, so you can't retain, hold, search, or export their content.

Chat messages supported in Vault

The following information applies to Chat retention rules, holds, and search and export.

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History must be turned on

To retain, hold, search, and export direct messages (DMs), group messages, and unthreaded spaces, history must be turned on. A Google Workspace administrator can control whether history is on or off, or they can allow users to decide.

You can always retain, hold, and search messages in spaces with threaded replies (conversations) because history can't be turned off.

Message attachments

When a user shares a file stored in Drive, such as a doc, sheet, or PDF, Chat inserts a link rather than attaching a copy of the file to the message. Because the original file is stored in Drive, it isn't retained when you retain chat messages, held when you place Chat data on hold, or returned in a Chat search. You can search by the URL of the file, but Vault doesn't index the title or content of the file.

For other file types directly attached to a Chat message:

  • The files are included in Chat retention rules and holds, associated with the message they're attached to.
  • Vault indexes the file name and owner for search. Vault also indexes the content of most text-based file types (for example, files with .pdf, .xslx, and .docx extensions).
External users' messages

Your Google Workspace administrator can allow users in your organization to chat with external users. When allowed, an external user and a user in your organization can exchange DMs and external users can participate in group messages and spaces. In these contexts, messages to and from external users are subject to your organization's retention rules and holds

If users in your organization participate in group messages and spaces owned by another organization, those messages aren’t available to your organization through Vault for retention, holds, search, or export.

Previewed messages in Chat spaces aren’t covered

When a user is invited to a Chat space, they can preview messages in the space before joining. Unless the user joins the space, the messages they previewed aren’t included when you retain, hold, or search that user’s Chat data.

Classic Hangouts and Google Talk messages supported in Vault

The following information applies to Chat retention rules, Chat holds, and Gmail search and export.

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History must be turned on

Vault supports chats in classic Hangouts and Google Talk. You can retain, search for, and place holds on:

  • Classic Hangouts with history turned on. Google Workspace administrators can control whether history is on or off, or they can allow users to decide. For details, see Chat history. Vault can access all chats that occur in Gmail and mobile classic Hangouts apps when history is on.
  • Google Talk chats that are on the record. Google Workspace administrators cannot force chats to be on the record. They can, however, turn off chat history for an organization.
Note: Vault supports retention, holds, search, and export for classic Hangouts messages sent with history turned on after April 8, 2015. For classic Hangouts messages sent before this date:
  • only on-the-record chats can be searched, exported, and placed on hold
  • retention policies aren't properly applied
Supported data

The following details for classic Hangouts chats are available to Vault:

  • All users who participated in the chat.
  • All messages that were exchanged during the chat, plus links to any attachments.
  • Names of group classic Hangouts. (Participants have the option of naming a group Hangout.) Chats between two users cannot be named.
  • The time the chat started and ended.

The following data aren't available to Vault:

  • Unaccepted invitations to chat. If a user doesn't participate in a chat, messages sent to that user aren't preserved.
  • Video calls.
  • Chats that occur within Google Docs.
  • Images sent through classic Hangouts.

Enable Vault support for classic Hangouts

For full support of history-on classic Hangouts:

  • Turn on classic Hangouts for your domain.
  • Verify Gmail is turned on for all classic Hangouts users. Classic Hangouts messages are stored in the same system that stores email messages for Gmail. Vault can't hold or retain classic Hangouts messages sent or received by accounts that have Gmail turned off. Classic Hangouts messages sent before Gmail is turned on can't be recovered.
Message processing

Vault groups all classic Hangouts messages into a single thread. Messages are continuously added to the thread until:

  • 3 hours have elapsed since the last chat message was sent.
  • the thread has more than 1,000 messages.

When you export a classic Hangouts message, the entire thread is included when you download the export file.

Voice data supported in Vault

The following information applies to Voice retention rules, holds, and search and export.

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Voice license requirements

A user must have a Voice Standard or Premier license for Vault to retain, search, hold, or export their Voice data.

For text messages, the Voice user must have a phone number that supports text messaging. Learn more

Vault doesn't support retention or holds of Voice data for accounts with Archived User or Vault Former Employee licenses.

Some Voice data isn't controlled by Vault

Vault can retain, hold, search and export most of the following Voice data:

  • Text messages
  • Voicemails and their transcripts
  • Call logs

The following Voice data isn't available to Vault:

  • Voice data created before June 5, 2019 (GMT-7).
  • Text messages, voicemails and their transcripts, or call logs that involve a phone number that's assigned to more than one user.
  • While some Voice accounts can record calls, this feature isn't available for Google Voice for Google Workspace accounts. Vault has no access to Voice conversations.
Voice text messages are bundled into daily conversations

In supported countries/regions, Voice users can exchange text messages with other Voice users and with non-Google phone numbers. Vault handles text messages as follows:

  • Text messages exchanged between participants in a day are bundled into a conversation. For Vault purposes, the day begins at 12:00 AM (GMT-7) and ends at 11:59 PM (GMT-7).
  • When a conversation exceeds 500 messages or 4 MB (not including attachments), Vault splits it into smaller groups of messages for preview and export.
  • The last modified date of a conversation is based on when the last message in the conversation was sent. The last modified date isn't affected when a user deletes a message.

Sites data supported in Vault

The following information applies to Drive retention rulesSites-specific retention rules, Drive holds, and Drive search and export.

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Supported sites and sites data
  • New Sites only—Only sites created in new Sites are supported in Vault. Sites created in classic Sites aren't stored in Drive and are unavailable to Vault.
  • External sites—Sites shared with your users from external organization aren't subject to your organization's retention rules or holds. You can search for external sites shared with your users, but you must search by specific accounts, organizational unit, or shared drives. You can't search for external sites by published URL.
  • Embedded content and hyperlinks—A site can consist of many parts: the site itself, a page that's part of the site, text, images, embedded code, embedded files, and hyperlinks to other content.

    Retention rules and holds apply only to the site itself, the site's pages, text on site pages, uploaded images, and embedded code. Embedded files, hyperlinks, and other items not part of the site file aren't covered by retention rules or holds.

    You can preview hyperlinks. You can also preview embedded files if they are preview supported, such as an embedded sheet or doc, and you have access privileges to the file. However, exports don't include the content of hyperlinks and embedded files.

How creation date and last modification date are calculated

Creation date

The creation date of a site is the date when a user creates a new site. The creation date doesn't change when the user adds new pages.

Last modification date

The last modified date of a site is updated whenever the site itself, a page that's part of the site, text, images, or embedded code are edited, deleted, or created. When users embed Google files and YouTube videos, or other content with a URL, the last modification date updates. However, if the embedded content itself changes, the last modification date of the site doesn't update.


Google, Google Workspace, and related marks and logos are trademarks of Google LLC. All other company and product names are trademarks of the companies with which they are associated.

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