Do you remember Google Talk? Google launched its first chat service in 2005. It̵
Just like an elephant, don’t forget Google
Google remembers your conversation history by default. Although Google Talk has long ceased to exist, your chat logs from that discontinued service will be stored in your Gmail account. Gmail’s search function searches both your chat logs and your emails. If you want to keep your chat history, that’s great.
But – if you started using Google Talk in 2005, that means chat logs from over 15 years ago will be stored in your Gmail account. Do you really want to keep all those old conversations indexed next to your emails forever? If so, great. If not, you may want to delete them.
Your chat history also takes up storage space, just like the emails you store in Gmail. That’s another reason why you may want to delete it, just like you want to delete old and unnecessary emails.
Chat history was not required. At the time, you could turn off Google Talk’s chat history feature. However, it was turned on by default and most people haven’t turned it off.
RELATED: Why you should delete emails instead of archiving them
How to find Google Talk and Hangouts chat logs in Gmail
Chat logs are easy to find. On the Gmail website, click on the “More” option in the left sidebar.
Click on “Chats” to see all chat logs that Gmail stores in your Google account. You’ll see chat logs from both the older Google Talk and the newer Google Hangouts here.
You can click through your chat logs and read them. The counter in the top right corner of the message list will give you an idea of the number of chat logs you store in your account.
Use the search box at the top of the page to search your chat history. The term “In: chats” searches chat logs only, without emails. For example, you can search for “in: chats bike” to find all the times you’ve mentioned the word “bike” in a Google Talk or Hangouts conversation.
How to Delete Your Old Google Chat Logs
If you don’t want to keep your entire chat history forever, it’s easy to clear.
While viewing your chat logs, click the check box in the upper left corner of the chat log list to select all chat logs in the current view. Click on the “Select All” button [number] conversations in Chats ”link to select any chat log stored in your Google account.
Then click the “Delete” button on the toolbar to delete them all. They will be sent to your trash. You can empty your trash immediately or Gmail will delete them after 30 days.
Note: You can also delete individual chat logs. Open one and click the “Delete” button on the Gmail toolbar to delete one.
How to delete your Hangouts conversations
If you’ve used Google Hangouts, you’ll find all the ‘active’ Hangouts conversations on the Google Hangouts website. (Some of these conversations may be from a few years ago.)
To delete conversations saved here, hover your mouse cursor over it, click the menu button to the right of the conversation and click ‘Delete’. (If it’s a group Hangouts chat, you should click ‘Leave’ instead.)
Remember, if you have multiple Google accounts (or if you have an old account that you haven’t used for a long time), it may have its own chat history. Log in to your old accounts and check the Chats section under Gmail to see what Google remembers.