See people’s online status

Learn about who's available on Hangouts

When you want to start a Hangout with someone on your computer, you can look at the person's profile picture in your Hangouts list to see whether they're online and available or not. If they're not online right now and they have the last seen feature turned on, you can see when they were last on Hangouts. 

Search for and add contacts to your Hangouts list. You can also manage your contacts list to pin specific people to the top of the list or hide others.

See who's available and who isn't

Contacts availabilityAvailable: You can tell that someone is available on Hangouts on their computer or mobile devices by the green circle on their profile picture. These people will be notified about new messages or video call invitations immediately.

Not available: If there isn't a green circle on someone's profile picture, it means they're not available on Hangouts. They will be notified about messages and video call invites, but they may not see them immediately. These people could be idle, turned off their last-seen setting or notifications, or aren't signed in to Hangouts.

For Google Chat, Google Talk, or a third-party chat app users: If you're using Google Chat, Google Talk, or a third-party chat app, you'll see green, red, orange or grey dots next to people's names for their status. See what the different statuses mean.

  • If a contact is available in Google Chat, they'll also show as available in Hangouts.
  • If they're idle, busy, or not available in Google Chat, they'll be unavailable in Hangouts too.

When contacts were last seen on Hangouts

You can see when someone was last seen on Hangouts if they have the setting turned on. It'll show the timestamp of when they were last seen, like "15m ago," or "yesterday."

You can see when they were last seen in two ways on Hangouts in Gmail:

  • Click the search icon and look at their name in the search list.
  • When you start a conversation with a contact, you'll see when they were last seen at the top of the chat window with Hangouts in Gmail.

If a contact is available, you won't see a last-seen timestamp. Instead, you'll see a green circle on their profile in the search list and a green line in the chat window under their name. On mobile devices, if a contact is online right now, you'll see "last seen just now."

Keep in mind, the timestamp shown in the conversations list is when the last message was sent or received with that contact, not when they were last seen.

Search for a contact or add a new one

To search for a contact, above the conversations and contacts list, click the search icon . Start typing a person's name. While you are typing, you'll see a list of people that match your search. Keep in mind that the sections for the search results will only show if there is a match for the name for that section.

The results are sorted in the following order:

Your contacts
These are the people you use Hangouts with or you've talked with on Google Chat.
Your Circles
These are your Google+ circles that match your search. You can start a conversation with everyone in a circle.
People in your domain
This shows only for people who use Google Apps through work or school domains. These are people who are in the same domain as you.
People on Hangouts
These are people who use Hangouts but you haven't chatted with.
People not on Hangouts
These are people who are not using Hangouts. If you send them a message, they'll receive an email invitation to sign in to Hangouts in Gmail or to install the mobile app.

How your contacts are organized

Hangouts is divided into two categories:

Your contacts
This shows all your contacts in Hangouts. It's sorted by your pinned contacts on top, then available contacts, and then unavailable contacts.
Hangouts conversations
This window shows all your existing Hangouts conversations, with the most recent ones on top. You can see the number of unread conversations at the bottom of the window on the Hangouts conversation icon.

Manage your contacts

Pin someone to the top of your contacts list

You can pin someone's name to the top of your contacts list so that you always see it, even if they're not available.

  1. Open Hangouts in Gmail.
  2. Move your mouse over someone's name and click the drop-down menu icon that appears. You can also right-click on the person's name and click the drop-down menu icon that appears.
  3. Click Pin to top.

You can remove someone from this section by clicking the drop-down menu icon again and clicking Unpin.

Hide contacts

If you don't want to see certain people in your contacts list, you can hide them. You can still send and receive messages from hidden contacts. You can see your conversations with hidden contacts in the conversation list, too.

  1. Open Hangouts in Gmail.
  2. Move your mouse over someone's name and click the drop-down menu icon that appears. You can also right-click on the person's name and click the drop-down menu icon that appears.
  3. Click Hide.

If you don't want certain people to contact you, you can block them.

See hidden contacts
You can see your hidden contacts all in one place.
  1. Open Hangouts in Gmail.
  2. At the top of your Hangouts list, click the drop-down menu icon .
  3. Click Hidden contacts.

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