How to Access and Read Google Chat Logs

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Accessing Google Talk Chat Logs

Google
It's easy to find your Google chat logs. Adam Berry/Getty Images

Looking to reference an old conversation that you had on Google Chat? Accessing the Google Chat logs between you and your friends is easy. There's two ways to find the logs, so let's get started! (PS — at the end of this quick tutorial I'll also share a secret for having conversations on Google Chat which are NOT recorded!)

Before we start, note that Google Chat history is ONLY available to users with a Gmail account. You can sign up for a free Gmail account here.

Next: Find out how to access your Google Chat history

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Access Google Chat Logs

Google chat
Your chat history can be found by clicking "Chats" in the menu within Gmail. Google

How to Find and Read Google Chat Logs

Option #1 (Desktop or laptop computer):

  • Log in to Gmail using your Google screen name and password.
  • Click on the menu on the left side of the screen to expand the options. You're looking for the "Chat" option which may be under the "More" link on the left, so you may have to click to expand it.
  • Click on the "Chat" option.
  • The "inbox" section of the screen will now be filled with a list of the names of the people that you've had prior chats with.
  • Click on the chat that you'd like to review. Once opened, you'll see the chat history with a particular person. The most recent messages will be at the bottom. Simply scroll up to see older messages.

Option #2 (Desktop or laptop computer, or a mobile device):

  • Log in to Gmail using your Google screen name and password
  • Click into the search bar at the top of the screen
  • Enter "in:chats" and click the blue magnifying glass
  • The "inbox" section of the screen will now be filled with a list of the names of the people that you've had prior chats with​.
  • Click on the chat that you'd like to review. Once opened, you'll see the chat history with a particular person. The most recent messages will be at the bottom. Simply scroll up to see older messages.
  • Tip: If you are looking for a chat with a particular person or regarding a particular topic you can enter additional search criteria into the search bar. For instance, if you add "John Smith" to your search (by typing in:chats John Smith into the search bar, then your chat history with John Smith will appear. If you add "homework" to your search (by entering in:chats homework into the search bar, then chats which include the word "homework" will appear. 

Next: How to make sure a log of your chat is NOT created

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How to Make Sure There is No Record of Your Chat

Go off the record in Google chat
Use the "Go off the record" option if you don't want a log of your chat. Google

What if you want to have a conversation via Google Chat, but you don't want a record of it? It's easy to modify a setting which will turn chat logging off. 

How to Go "Off the Record" on Google Chat

  • Log in to Gmail using your Google screen name and password
  • Open a chat window by clicking on the name of the person you want to chat with
  • Click on "More" in the upper right of the chat window
  • Select "Go off the record"

Selecting this option will ensure that no record of your chat is created.

Chat logs are a handy reference when you need to revisit details from a conversation. It's easy to access them via the menu in Gmail, or you can use the search bar and include more detailed information in order to find your chat history quickly. Happy chatting!

Updated by: Christina Michelle Bailey, 8/16/16