Google Chat

Core App


A messaging platform built for teams


Chat lets you easily send a text, send a file, share a document from Google Drive, or start a Meet session. Chat is available via a web browser or stand alone apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS.

Direct Message

  • A direct message is a private conversation among designated individual(s). Messages between multiple individuals are called “group messages.”
  • Group message membership is fixed at creation.
  • Message history can be toggled on or off and is off by default. All parties are notified when message history is changed.
  • External (non accounts can be direct messaged by an individual, but cannot be added to a group message.
  • For a full comparison of features, visit: Google Support: Rooms vs. Group Messages


  • Rooms are persistent collaboration spaces.
  • History is always on and messages are retained in Vault for 18 months.
  • Rooms are “threaded,” making it easier to follow and participate in multiple conversations.
  • Unlike group messages, room membership can be changed at any time.
  • Google Groups can be members of rooms. Each group member will have the option to join the room.
  • External (non accounts can be members of a room.
  • For a full comparison of features, visit: Google Support: Rooms vs. Group Messages

Data Security

In a Chat room, users should avoid discussing the following topics:

  • Personnel topics
  • Red or Purple data. See Data Management Framework.
  • Conversations that need to be archived or retained for longer than 18 months.
  • Meeting minutes, which should be archived in permanent format such as Google Doc.
  • Process documentation.


  • Use via web client or download the Chat app (currently available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS). On June 11, 2020 NC State users will transition to the new Chat in Gmail and Classic Hangouts will only be available via until discontinued by Google. 
  • Group messages previously created in Classic Hangouts do not transfer to Google Chat. New group messages or room will need to be created in Google Chat. 

Chat History Settings and Retention

  • If Chat room history is enabled, members can search for specific chats and direct messages.
    Search by document type, user, images, PDFs, etc.
  • A Chat room has an 18-month retention for business continuity.
  • Message retention is calculated based on the time of its original post.
    For example, a message posted on 10/1/2020 would be available until 4/1/2022.
  • If requested by the Office of General Counsel, Google Admins can search Chat room history. 

Getting Started with Chat

To learn more about Chat and how to get started collaborating and managing Chat, visit the G Suite Learning Center

Support links


See Google’s accessibility features and products and scroll to the Classic Hangouts section.


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