Here’s how safe Google Chat is for online dating:
Google Chat is relatively safe software when it comes to communication.
As is always the case with online dating, the greater risk is that you give away sensitive information to someone with bad intentions.
Chat, by itself, does not raise or lower the risks associated with online dating and talking with strangers.
So if you want to learn all about how safe Google Chat is for online dating, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s dive into it!
What Is Google Chat?
As the name suggests, this is a service that is run by Google.
It is intended to replace Google Hangouts.
It offers all of the previous Hangout features, plus it adds a bunch of support for professional collaboration.
Chat is software that lets you communicate with people via chat messages, audio discussions, and video chat.
It has resources for one-on-one communication as well as group conversations.
It also integrates with other Google services and additional software from third parties.
The idea is that Chat allows you to consolidate communication forms under your Gmail account, and it provides more options than Hangouts previously accommodated.
How Does Google Chat Work?
I’m going to skip the deep technical explanation and really cover this from a user perspective.
Chat works by grouping everything under your Gmail account.
You can access Chat from a Gmail web page, or you can download the app for Windows, Android, and other platforms.
Regardless of how you run Chat, it’s a consolidated resource that allows you to see all communications that are under the umbrella of your Gmail account.
So, your email messages, Chat messages, and collaborations with other people are all in a centralized location.
Chat also incorporates Google search features, aiming to make it as easy as possible to find any particular communication.
Google’s big talking point with Chat isn’t going to be appealing to a lot of people who are using it for online dating.
Chat is very good for integrating other communication and collaboration resources.
So, you can easily share Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides with other Chat users.
You can have online conferences, and you can leave group chats open for perpetual communication.
Chat even integrates with third-party software like SalesForce.
It’s pretty powerful, but a lot of this extends beyond any practical dating applications.
The reason I’m covering these details is so you can understand that the safety of Chat depends largely on how you use it, and there is an opportunity to get in over your head if you aren’t familiar with Chat and all it can do.
How Safe Is Google Chat? (2 Points)
Now that you know a little more about Google Chat, we can start discussing safety.
As I’ve already mentioned, the level of safety you get out of Google Chat depends on how you use it.
If you start every Chat conversation by giving away your Social Security number and bank account information, then it’s not a very safe platform.
That’s a bit of a ridiculous scenario, but it proves a point.
Safety features can’t protect you from your own decisions, and that applies to chat as well.
But, if you’re thinking about using this for dating, there are some legitimate safety concerns.
Can other people see your messages?
What about shared pictures?
Dating is deeply personal, and you want to be sure that things on Chat stay just that: personal.
On that front, Chat is promising.
When it comes to design, Chat is pretty safe, and I’ll show you why.
#1 TLS Encryption
The most important safety feature applied by Google Chat is encryption.
If you send a message over Chat (regardless of what type of message it is), the data is encrypted.
It is sent over Google-secured communication lines, and it is then delivered to the recipient.
Now, you can also send SMS messages via Chat.
If you choose that option, then the message is sent via your wireless carrier.
In such a case, your Chat message is exactly as secure as any text message that you send.
Getting back to Google security features, Chat uses TLS encryption.
We can skip some of the technical jargon.
Suffice it to say, Google is using industry-leading encryption.
It’s very difficult for someone to steal data that you send over chat (unless they are invited to the conversation).
On top of that, Chat offers end-to-end encryption for messages.
This is not enabled by default, but when you turn it on, this adds substantial security to the communication.
Basically, this feature means that not even Google services and resources can view your messages.
Only you and the other members of the conversation can see any messages.
It’s pretty much the highest level of security you can have for this type of communication.
Google is using strong encryption procedures, but that’s not all you need to know about Chat security.
If you aren’t using end-to-end encryption, then your messages could end up on Google servers somewhere.
Third parties might not be able to reliably steal that data from Google, but what if Google chooses to share or sell your info?
What happens then?
Google is not at the top of tech companies when it comes to protecting privacy, but in terms of Chat, things are clear.
Google is not going to share or sell the contents of your Chat messages.
They might share user-generated statistics, but that’s a very different thing.
At most, Google will share information about how many users there are on Chat, where they are regionally located, and how much they use the service.
Google is not sharing actual text messages or uploaded files.
How Safe Is Google Chat for Online Dating? (2 Factors)
So. Chat is not compromising your safety on its own account.
Your information on the service is protected, so you don’t have to worry about that front.
But, none of that means that Chat is universally safe for online dating.
As I keep saying, the greater risks stem from how you use the service.
For the rest of this conversation, we’re going to focus on that aspect of using Chat for online dating.
If you’re looking for a brief summary, Chat can expose you and put you at great risk of scams and other malicious behavior if you are not careful.
None of the Chat security features offer any protection on this front.
#1 Legitimate Communication
The first thing to understand is that you absolutely can use Chat for legitimate conversations, even when it comes to dating.
Chat is pretty much like any other communication app in this regard.
Whether you choose Chat, WhatsApp, simple text messaging, or anything else, it all comes down to how you communicate.
If you share a lot of personal information, it could potentially be used against you.
And, it’s not always how you imagine.
Clever people might ask you questions that are commonly used to reset passwords.
If they’re good at this stuff, you’ll give them the means to steal information without you realizing it.
On the other hand, some people run outright scams and meet potential targets via dating apps.
There’s a lot to look out for, and I’m going to cover the most common risks.
Despite all of that, if you’re going to do online dating, you have to communicate somehow.
Chat is not any more or less risky than any other communication platform.
Have your conversations.
Just be wary of the common scams.
#2 Scams to Consider
Speaking of scams, there are some common techniques that show up when it comes to online dating.
Asking for Money
The very most common is the easiest to spot and avoid.
People will communicate with you online and then eventually ask for money.
They might want the money to pay for travel so they can meet you.
They might have a sob story.
Regardless, the scam here is that they’re just trying to get money out of you.
The easiest defense is to never give money to someone you haven’t met face to face.
Even if you have met them in person, it’s ok to be wary about giving someone money, but this is an easy line to draw, and it cuts a lot of scams off before you can lose any money.
Other common scams involved malicious software.
They send you a link or a file to download.
When you do, it installs the bad software, and that software can hijack your device, steal passwords, or otherwise create problems.
These scams usually involve a lot less investment of time and energy.
So, if you’re getting links or downloads before you get to know a person at all, assume the worst and don’t click or tap.
Delete the message and move on.
The third aspect of online dating is the propensity for social engineering.
You can call social engineering a scam if you want, but it’s worth discussing separately.
Social engineering is the practice of manipulating people in order to get something.
In terms of online dating, it can be done to run one of the scams mentioned above (or any form of catfishing).
It can also be used to trick you into giving away enough information that people can steal from you.
The challenge with social engineering is that the scammer never has to directly ask for money or use malicious software.
Instead, under the guise of getting to know you, they try to figure out enough that they can break into your important accounts or even steal your identity altogether.
Here’s a simple trick.
Someone using social engineering might ask for a picture of your driver’s license to prove that you really are old enough to date.
If you don’t blot out the license number, they can use it to try to steal your identity.
It feels simple enough, but people fall for these kinds of things every day.
Here’s the bottom line about social engineering.
Be careful about how much information you share with someone you have never met in person.
Technically, someone could still manipulate you after meeting in person, but the risk is a lot higher, and it’s less likely to happen.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide who you want to trust and when.
As long as you know the potential risks, you can at least make informed decisions.