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Please forgive my ignorance.... I need to search a chat history. Google does not appear to allow us to search chat, so I'm trying to save it to disk so I can search it in a text editor.

I opened a Hangout as if I was going to send a message. Then I clicked on the settings gear. Finally I clicked SAVE (Hangout History was already checked):

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Unfortunately, I cannot find the history that was just saved, and I have no idea where the Chat program saves it by default. I also tried to save it as an Archive by checking the box, but all that did was hide the person from me in the Chat area.

Where, exactly, is the chat history saved?

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You should see a "Chats" label/folder on the left side of Gmail; this is where all of your chats are stored. Alternatively, in the search bar at the top of Gmail, enter in:chats, and you should see your saved chat history.

You can use Gmail to search chats. Simply use the search bar to query in:chats [text you want to search].

Note, however, that if the "Hangout history" setting was unchecked while you were chatting with someone, then whatever was said during that period of time was NOT saved and is unfortunately gone forever.

In case you are still interested in saving your Hangouts to your hard disk, you can do so by using Google Takeout, which allows you to export any combination of the vast majority of your Google data. Note, however, that Hangouts data is exported in JSON format, so you will need some way of either searching for strings in JSON files or converting JSON to a text-based format.

  • Thanks. but how do I save them to disk for searching? – user72479 Oct 30 '15 at 23:19
  • I just edited my answer to provide you with that info. Hope that helps! – SightSpirit Oct 31 '15 at 1:15

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