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Google Hangouts, you are a mess.
March 24, 2014 8:53 AM   Subscribe

How do I absolutely, definitively, and completely sign myself out of Google Hangouts in every single possible location that I'm signed in? Or: how do I actually get notified when people chat me and I'm not online?

I am not computer stupid, but this eludes me. I have chat disabled in Gmail. I am signed out of Hangouts in Google Plus. I don't run any Chrome chat sessions. I've signed out of Hangouts in my iPhone and my iPad. The only place where I am signed in to Google Chat is in Adium (OS X), which I shut down when I'm not using it. I've even tried ending all sign-in sessions from Gmail.

And yet, somehow I still get Google Talk IMs from people at least 2-3 times a week that I don't see until I go to the web interface of Gmail. Since I don't use the web interface very much and largely rely on my various notification devices (Notify on OS X, Mail on iPhone) to tell me when I have new email, this usually means I don't see these chats until a day or so later. (Chat notifications are now a web-Gmail-thing and not something that gets pushed out as an actual email because Google hates usability.) This is really annoying!

Are people just IM-ing people even when they're not online? How can I definitely sign out of everything and make sure I'm actually offline to other people? Do I need to change my password and re-set all my App passwords?

Alternatively (and maybe this is the best solution), how can I force-generate a notification when I do get a new chat from someone and I'm not online? Halp!

(I don't like being signed in on my phone because Hangouts on iOS doesn't seem to offer any sort of 'appear as mobile' status option, so people will message me as though I'm online wanting to talk about something important, and I'm thumbtyping short replies and can't concentrate on whatever it is I'm doing that does not involve being in front of a computer. Also the mobile Hangouts app suuuuuucks.)
posted by Phire to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Log in somewhere and set yourself to invisible; hopefully whatever's signing you in should respect the most recent status command and isn't set to somehow automatically set you as Available because of activity.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:01 AM on March 24


Are people just IM-ing people even when they're not online?

For what it's worth, I have google hangouts integrated with messaging on my (Android) phone. As far as I'm aware, there's no indication that a person is signed in or out or set as invisible or whatever from my interface on my phone. I can google hangout chat a person just like I can text them, and in fact sometimes do unintentionally since they're both right there in the same thingy on my phone.

Just letting you know...if your friends have a similar setup, this is probably why they're chatting at you.
posted by phunniemee at 9:07 AM on March 24


As far as I'm aware, there's no indication that a person is signed in or out or set as invisible or whatever from my interface on my phone.

Seconding this, it is one of the reasons I factory reset my old Android phone, so it would revert back to old Google Talk and I refuse to reupgrade to Hangouts.
posted by Kurichina at 9:21 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


I frequently IM people when they're not online--I think of something and want to say it, but know that I'll forget, or whatever. So I message and figure that they'll see it next time they're on, and they can respond when they want. I get a not insubstantial number of messages from friends who do the same thing, so this seems to be an established thing, and could explain what you're seeing.
posted by MeghanC at 9:23 AM on March 24 [1 favorite]


Yep, with the migration to Hangouts, Google moved away from the old online/offline metaphor.
posted by dcjd at 9:24 AM on March 24


I frequently IM people when they're not online--I think of something and want to say it, but know that I'll forget, or whatever. So I message and figure that they'll see it next time they're on, and they can respond when they want. I get a not insubstantial number of messages from friends who do the same thing, so this seems to be an established thing, and could explain what you're seeing.

Related to this - Facebook Messages are now shown by default in a regular browser in a little pop-up "IM style" chat window, instead of the older inbox/threaded email conversation style (which you can still access I think but isn't the default view). This sort of blurring of the lines between "IM" and "email style messaging" might be why people are more likely to IM you even when you're offline - because they see it less like a real-time conversation (like a phonecall) and more like an asynchronous exchange of messages (like email),
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:32 AM on March 24


Ugh. But if you're not entirely plugged into the Android ecosystem, if I want to reply to a message I missed, I often need to do so by email. Because Adium / the in-Gmail chat interface won't let you message someone who's offline, and I use Firefox by default and thus don't have a stand-alone Hangouts app. (Well, I do have the Chrome Hangouts app but it's for work, and to my knowledge it doesn't handle multiple sign-ins so far.)

Does anyone have any ideas as to how to get near-real-time notifications of new chats, instead?

(If the iOS Hangouts app were less shitty I'd just resort to that.)
posted by Phire at 9:36 AM on March 24


For what it's worth, the latest version of the iOS Hangouts app does let you set your "current device." Tap your profile pic at the top, then the gear icon, then "Share Your Status." (Screenshot.)
posted by Zozo at 9:50 AM on March 24


I downgraded from Android 4.4 (KitKat) to Android 4.3 (Jellybean) just to get rid of hangouts for the reason you describe, so I could go back to the old Google Talk and actually, you know, sign out.
posted by zippy at 9:51 AM on March 24


Also, a bit of an aside, but you can see if contacts are online/offline in the iOS Hangouts app by tapping on "Contacts". A green conversation bubble means they're online. Though, now that I think about it, I don't know if the ones that aren't green are actually offline, or if they're just not sharing their statuses.
posted by ohmy at 9:53 AM on March 24


In Google Talk on my Android phone, it was leaving me signed in and I was getting missed messages in previous versions. But with this current version, I figured out how to sign off on my phone -- some accounts I can stay online, others I can sign off. But if you do stay signed in, you should get chats the same way you get text messages. At least I do. It's not always instant, but neither are text messages. My version of Talk is 4.1.2-509320, if that helps.
posted by AppleTurnover at 1:45 PM on March 24


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