Google Apps – How To Disable Chat History and Force Off The Record

Google SecurityBy default, Google Chat history is saved to users Gmail accounts and can be accessed under the Chats label. Although users can disable chat history recording, many don’t as they probably don’t even know the setting exists. If you’re a company that’s “Gone Google”, this is a problem. Why?

I’ve worked in Information Security at the Corporate level for a number of years and what I’ve found is people tend to say some very inappropriate things in chat vs. email. Normally this is because many employees view email as being very formal and chat as transitory, kind of like a phone call. After all, no one is listening to those chat conversation right? Wrong. As I’ve explained, Google Chat records those IM chat conversations by default which makes them all easily discoverable should your company be served with a data discovery subpoena. Yeah, that could be really, really bad.

The good news is Google Apps allows the system administrator to disable chat history recording and force the “Off the record” setting globally for all Google Apps users in your business. Here’s how you do it.

Login to your Google Apps Management Console using your Admin credentials and Click Settings.

google apps dashboard settings

Click Chat on the left sidebar.

google apps dashboard settings chat

Check the box labeled Disable chat history by forcing all future chats to be “Off the Record”.

Google Apps disable chat

Save the change by Clicking Save Changes.

save changes

From this point forward, any future chat discussions will not be archived in your users Gmail account in Google Apps. Previous chat discussions however will remain unless deleted by the user. Unfortunately Google doesn’t provide system administrators with a way to purge old chat history data so if you’re a business that needs this purged, I recommend you contact your Google Account Manager.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Joe

    October 29, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    I have the opposite problem in my small business. I want to DISABLE “Off the record”, so I can track conversations among employees (for many reasons). Is this feature available? Thanks!

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