Gchat statuses on the iPhone/iPod Touch vs. Gmail
June 30, 2010 6:32 AM   Subscribe

In regular Gmail, my friends' chat statuses show up as red, green, or greyed out. I know that if they're greyed out it might be because they're not signed in or because they've gone invisible. In Gchat on the iPhone/iPod Touch, there's a little more variation in how their statuses appear (not on the list at all, greyed out without profile pic, greyed out with profile pic) and I'm looking to understand whether those variations tell me if they're there but "invisible" vs "signed out."

There seem to be a couple of variations for how my friends appear in Gchat on my iPhone and I'd like to know what each variation means for whether they're really there or not. If their chat status is set to red or green, things are pretty obvious but I've noticed three possible variants when it's not set to either of those.

1. They don't appear in the list of chattable people at all. Nothing, nada, no listing.

2. They appear greyed out but without a profile picture, just the default silhouette (and these are people with profile pictures set up).

3. They appear greyed out but with their profile picture visible.

Does anyone know on what basis one of these occurs rather than another? If the profile picture is visible but they're greyed out, does it mean they're there but "invisible"? If they're not listed at all, does it mean they're signed out? Anyone know?

My real question is less about where my friends are than about what my own chat status might be communicating.
posted by Wisco72 to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
I'm a little confused — in my Gchat, there are four options: Red, green, greyed out or yellow (for idle). I've found that on my iPhone, Gchat sometimes doesn't show people who are idle or not online, generally hiding the people I talk to less often. Sometimes it goes into jerk mode and hides people I do talk to that are idle, though.

I've never thought the presence or absence of a profile picture made any difference in Gchat — this could be a glitch, but the pictures tend to randomly disappear for me, so I've never really thought they indicated anything.

But I'm not a huge fan of the Google Talk app (I'm assuming that's what you're using). I usually use it through the browser, so maybe it's a little different.

Have you thought about signing on through both your iPhone & computer and comparing?
posted by good day merlock at 8:28 AM on June 30, 2010

I doubt google would ever give any indication, however subtle, of someone being invisible. That would defeat the purpose. Perhaps you're seeing quirks or bugs. I've always found I.M. to be quirky. Perhaps you could test it by making 2 accounts and chatting to yourself (best if you use separate computers), or better yet, get a friend to confirm how your status appears to him/her in various scenarios.
posted by Deor at 8:38 AM on June 30, 2010

The easiest way to test this might be to simply open a second gmail account, log in as that user on your iPhone, and see what your original account is broadcasting for the various statuses.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 8:40 AM on June 30, 2010

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