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Zephro
Nov 23, 2000

I suppose I could part with one and still be feared...


Can anyone explain to me exactly how Google Talk handles your chat history? I use Google Chat a lot at work, and sometimes I use it for topics that are somewhat sensitive for clients. At the moment, I sign out of gmail any time I go away from my desk, as a privacy-prevention measure, but it's a pain to have to do that every time I go to the toilet or head out to grab a coffee.

Most chat programs have a button to clear your history, but while the mobile version of Talk has one of these, the desktop version - the one you access from within a browser while logged into your gmail account - doesn't seem to. If you view the chat log in the 'chats' section, you get a "delete hangout history" button, which removes the record of the chat from the "chat" section of your gmail account. But if I then double-click on the contact's name to bring up a new chat window a few hours later, the history is still there and I can scroll right back through it. Or at least sometimes it is; it seems that if I wait for some indetermined length of time it eventually goes away. Clearing the history on my phone only clears it on the phone - the history stays put on my desktop browser.

Can anyone explain exactly how Gmail handles all this? Every official answer I can find on Google's product forums is evasive and uninformative, which I suppose makes sense from a company obsessed with hanging on to every single detail you provide them, but it's frustrating not being able to get a clear answer on some pretty basic functionality. As a related question, is there a good chat client that can play nicely with Google Talk but that actually has a functioning 'clear history' button?

edit: Google's FAQ says the following:

quote:

Why do my previous chats appear in the chat window?

If you close a chat window with a particular user during a Google Talk session, upon starting a conversation with this user again, the most recent lines of your chat will be stored locally and appear in your chat conversation window until you sign out of the application.

If you sign out of Google Talk and log in at a later time, your previous chats will not appear in the chat window.
But this isn't the behaviour I observe. I've logged out and logged in again and the old chats are still there.

edit2: It's also not true that the data is stored locally. If I open a gmail window on another PC, the chat history is there too.

Zephro fucked around with this message at May 6, 2014 around 20:29

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Captain Foo
May 11, 2004

the cyberpunk dystopia is now
you are not the runner


Clever Betty

Google records everything you've ever put into g chat. Forever.

prak
Jan 3, 2006

---------

Nap Ghost

Zephro posted:

Most chat programs have a button to clear your history, but while the mobile version of Talk has one of these, the desktop version - the one you access from within a browser while logged into your gmail account - doesn't seem to. If you view the chat log in the 'chats' section, you get a "delete hangout history" button, which removes the record of the chat from the "chat" section of your gmail account. But if I then double-click on the contact's name to bring up a new chat window a few hours later, the history is still there and I can scroll right back through it. Or at least sometimes it is; it seems that if I wait for some indetermined length of time it eventually goes away. Clearing the history on my phone only clears it on the phone - the history stays put on my desktop browser.
With Talk there used to be a pretty clear "Off the Record" toggle.

https://support.google.com/hangouts...r/3115403?hl=en

quote:

While Hangout history is turned off, each message will be visible in the Hangout window for a short period of time and will then be deleted from the Hangout window.
"A short period of time" might still be too long for you but not logging in the first place seems like somewhat better alternative to trying to clear it later.

Alternative clients aren't likely to help much since all the logging is happening server side; unless you main concern is someone being able to casually glace over your shoulder and see something.

Captain Foo posted:

Google records everything you've ever put into g chat. Forever.
Basically. You can ask nicely and they might not as much.

https://ssd.eff.org/tech/im

quote:

Google OTR is a feature of the Google instant messaging service that allows you to request that neither Google nor the people your talk to should be able to log your conversations. Unfortunately, there is no plausible enforcement mechanism for this feature.

monster on a stick
Apr 29, 2013


nm

monster on a stick fucked around with this message at Aug 7, 2014 around 19:29

pr0digal
Sep 12, 2008

Alan Rickman Overdrive

Much like Prak said you can turn on "Off The Record" (under More -> Go Off The Record). I know with Enterprise at least this pretty much means that once you close out of that chat window it goes away and is not logged. I can't speak to personal Gmail as I don't use chat much in personal Gmail but my guess is that the functionality is the same.

So yeah, turn on Off The Record if you want something sensitive to stay private, it's not even logged if your organization uses Vault or a service like Backupify or Spanning.

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