A friend and I are having some very good conversations via Facebook messaging. I want to be able to save those messages and insert them into a Google doc. I'm aware of Facebook's download mechanism. I requested an archive, it made one, I downloaded it, unzipped it, and when I pulled up the directory tree in a browser there was one gigantic HTML file of all of my message exchanges with everyone. That's not the easiest thing for me to work with.

I'm looking into Google Hangouts. I requested an archive of my chat/hangout history, Google created one, and I'm downloading it. Even though my chat history is not very big (I don't chat in Google very much), it created a couple of large zip files. The first is 2GB in size and taking a while to download. I know there are programs that extract the good stuff and discard all the metadata that is not needed for message history. But, even if this works, that process is clumsy just as the Facebook process it.

I'd love to know about some instant messaging platform that makes it easy and quick to download message history between myself and just one person. I would like this to be free if possible but a one-time fee for a solution would work as well. Thanks.

Update: The Google Hangouts zip file is only 43KB. The 2GB+ file was because I selected "All" instead of "None" (and then selecting chat history) for what to download. The download now just contains a json file of my chat history. This article has a link to a tool that parses the json and lets me get text.


That process works fine but if I had personal data I wouldn't want to be running it through some unknown tool.

  • Do you want this to be a free or paid web app?
    – Tom
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 3:11
  • Free would be nice. I'd be willing to pay a one-time fee if the download feature is really good. I definitely am not interested in a subscription model.
    – Sol
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 3:13
  • ok, and I'm assuming this is something that you don't want to host yourself?
    – Tom
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 3:16
  • Probably not. I do have a Mac and could run Linux apps but I'm not eager to risk bad traffic coming into my firewall.
    – Sol
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 3:18
  • 1
    2GB only for chat/hangout history? Does it contain more than text? Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 3:21

1 Answer 1


I would recommend slack. It's free to use and has a great export utility included which can be used to download conversations. It's quite a powerful chat system and includes many, many features and apps that you can install. They created a guide on how to export conversations here. Basically, just go here, http://my.slack.com/services/export, and click "Start Export".

An export includes all the following,

  • message history in channels
  • links to files shared in channels
  • archived channels
  • integration activity logs

It's shipped in a zip with channels as folders and includes individual files as days written in JSON

Inside an export


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