Google Hangouts status and what it means
Google Hangouts’ status feature can have two meanings:
- First, this is a text message which you can show to other people in the text chats together with your name.
- Second, these are the detectors like “online” or “offline”.
If you used other instant messengers, you've probably noted similar functionality in them, as many of them offer such features of showing or hiding user's activity or adding some quotes or info messages.
Thus, speaking of this feature in Hangouts, we need to clarify whether we talk about the shared text messages or activity detectors. Let's have a look at these two issues.
Status messages in Google Hangouts
Status messages are short pieces of information which any Hangouts user can enter and then share them to other contacts — these lines will be displayed for the contacts in the list and in the chat window.
Users can share them to express emotions, ideas or to inform other contacts about something — for example, leaving for vacations or just being unavailable during some period for some reason.
Users can set the status message in all versions of the service — Hangouts messenger is a cross-platform product which has mobile apps for Android and iPhone, the web version and the add-on for the Chrome browser which substitutes the functionality of the desktop application.
Do the following:
In the web version (it is available from the Gmail interface or from the “Apps” menu of the Chrome browser) click the three-dots menu on the left to launch the “Settings’ menu.
Type your message into the text field at the top and save it. After that, it will be displayed to your other contacts.
In case you prefer the Hangouts extension for Chrome, launch the app window and click the menu icon. Enter the text which you want to make available to others, and it will be saved.
In the mobile app for both Android devices and iPhone, refer to the side menu of the application, and the option to set the status message will be available in it.
Enter the text of the message and save it.
Your personal information together with this message will be refreshed everywhere in the versions of this product.
Last seen status notifications in Google Hangouts
Status indicator in instant messengers is used to show whether the contact is online of offline at the moment. Other services offer more variety to tell about the user's activity, for example, “busy”, “away”, “at home”, etc.
As for the Hangouts messenger, it shows which contacts are online — you can see it in the list of the web-version and the plugin app. Those who are online at the moment will be marked by the big green dot under their profiles pictures.
In the mobile version there is no such an indicator for contacts. However, in all Hangouts version you can see the “last seen” status which is shown by default next to the name of the contact.
In general, the Hangouts “last seen” notification means the time when the contact was active — signed in to the messenger or took part in conversation with you. The option to show the “last seen” information is enabled by default for each user.
Unfortunately, this indicator can't work as the absolutely reliable method to tell whether someone is available for a chat at the moment. Many people use Hangouts on their smartphones and remain signed in there, but they might disable other notifications or just keep the messenger idle while being away.
In this case, you might see the last-seen time like “two weeks ago”, though the service will show those contacts active.
If you want to keep your privacy, you can disable this indicator — it will be an analogue of “invisible” in other products. Then the service won't tell your contacts about your activity. However, if you chat with someone who disabled the last-seen status, the time of activity of that person will be displayed and changed each moment you receive the reply from that side.
To apply the Google Hangouts invisible status, uncheck this option in the following way:
In the web and plugin versions launch the settings menu and remove the checkmark from “show when you were last active”.
In the mobile app for iPhone launch the side menu and tap “Status”.
Disable the “Last active” option.
If you use the mobile app for Android, you will need also to go to the side menu and choose “Settings” there.
In the new window tap your account and go further to the advanced settings. Navigate to the “Share your status” section and tap that area.
Configure your preferences for the activity displaying.
This way you will remain invisible to your contacts, and the time of your last activity won't change until you decide yourself to address someone.
Thus, even if the definition of the “status” feature in Google Hangouts can be a little bit vague, as it is used for two different cases, both the options are useful and let you make your communication more arranged.