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The history of my old Google chats from a few years ago, and my old Hangouts chats, is gone. I have checked all my Google accounts. On some accounts, only some chats have disappeared. On one old account, all the chat history is gone. I remember being able to pull up conversation records from several years ago by searching for some keywords just a few months ago. And now I search for the same words the logs don't come up any more.

Google seems to have recently completely changed the Gmail layout but why are my chat logs gone as a result? How do I get them back?

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  • I think I recall Google saying you had to get this data some years back.
    – user239810
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 23:48

1 Answer 1

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Google has changed the chat platform that supported the chat feature available in the Gmail web app multiple times. Also Google has changed the data retention policy from never deleting user data, to deleting data from inactive accounts. By the other hand,

  1. According to Peggy K a Platinum Google Product Expert, see Missing chat history, when a message from a chat conversation was deleted in Google Hangouts Chats this caused that the conversation not were migrated to Google Chat.

  2. From Learn about the switch from Google Hangouts to Google Chat

Keep your Google Hangouts data with Google Takeout
As of January 1, 2023 (PST, GMT-7), you can only download attachments that you sent in Hangouts from Google Takeout. The option to download other Hangouts data from Google Takeout is no longer available.

If there is any chance to recover the data, it might be possible to obtain it from your Google account by using Google Takeout.

Related Help Articles

Announcements about the last Gmail "chat" changes

To learn about the Google policies about deletion of inactive accounts go to How your Google storage works

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  • Thank you for the answer. I have followed the steps and looked over all the pointers you give me here. The policy you linked says only people whose accounts have gone over their quota are at risk of having data deleted. But I'm pretty sure my old account is way under the storage quota. I tried Google Takeout but the exported files contain nothing except a few contacts, the chats with whom are gone, just like in my Google chat window. This is really strange.
    – desmo
    Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 1:47
  • @desmo answer updated. Commented Mar 11, 2023 at 13:15
  • One thing of note: my chats export items that contained image URLs had weird unicode escaping that required me to replace sequences like \u003d with = etc Commented Jun 13, 2023 at 16:30

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