Google Talk: What does it mean to go off the record?
We know that sometimes, we don't want a particular chat, or chats with a specific person, to be saved. Most existing IM services give no indication of whether the person you're chatting with is saving your conversation. But when chatting in Google Talk or Gmail, you can go "off the record," so that nothing typed from that point forward gets automatically saved in anyone's Gmail account.
Going off the record applies to individual people, and is persistent across chats. That means once you go off the record with a particular person, you will always be off the record with him or her, even if you close the chat window, and the two of you don't chat again until several months later. You will not need to go off the record each time you chat with the same person, but you will need to make this decision for each person you chat with. We've designed this to be a socially-negotiated setting because we want to give users full disclosure and control over whether the person they're talking to can save their chat.
To go off the record while chatting, click the Options button and select "Go off the record" from the dropdown menu. Both people can go off the record or stop chatting off the record at any time, and we will always notify both people of such a change.
Does going off the record ensure that my chats won't be saved anywhere?
Unfortunately not. People can choose to access Google Talk using a variety of third party clients and some clients save chats locally to the users' computers. We can only guarantee that when you go off the record, the chat history is not being automatically saved or made searchable in either person's Gmail account. We can't guarantee what the other person is doing, since, as is the case for all chats, the other person could always be cutting and pasting, and saving the contents of the chat elsewhere.
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