Channel the AIM Era by Setting a Status in Gmail and Google Chat

Channel the AIM Era by Setting a Status in Gmail and Google Chat
Photo: Ascannio, Shutterstock

Status messages are one early internet quirk that didn’t really keep up with the times, even though they totally should. They’re fun, but they’re also informative, allowing you to let your contact list know what you’re up to, and why you really can’t respond to every message right now, Dave. Thankfully, Google is bringing the status message back, one app at a time.

Which Google apps let you set statuses?

As of this article, you can set a status for your account in Google Chat and Gmail. Google first rolled out statuses to these services earlier this summer, and updated the Android versions of Google Chat and Gmail to support this feature on Aug. 12.

How to update your Gmail status (web)

When accessing Gmail from the web, there are actually two ways to set your status. The newest way is by having Google Chat enabled. To enable Chat, click the settings gear, then choose See all settings. From here, click Chat and Meet, click the Google Chat tab, then click OK on the popup. Finally, click Save Changes.

Screenshot: Jake Peterson Screenshot: Jake Peterson

Gmail will then automatically refresh, and you’ll see a new Active status tab. Click this, then click Add a status. Here, you can choose to write your own status, and add an emoji with the smiley icon, or choose one of the four pre-made statuses from the list.

If you have Hangouts enabled, check out your name and icon under Hangouts on the left side of the screen. Click this, then click Share your status. This option will let you type in your status, and choose an accompanying emoji by tapping the smiley icon to the left.

Screenshot: Jake Peterson Screenshot: Jake Peterson

How to update your Gmail status (Android)

In order to set a status in Gmail for Android, you’ll need to enable Chat first. To do so, tap the hamburger menu icon in the top left, tap Settings, then tap the applicable Gmail account. Scroll down, tap the box next to Chat, then tap OK on the pop-up to enable the feature.

Gmail should relaunch, and, when it does, tap the hamburger menu icon again to find the new Add a status option. Just as you’d expect, you can type out a status and add an emoji from the smiley icon, but you can also choose one of the four pre-made statuses that are available below.

How to update your Google Chat status (web)

To make a status on Google Chat on your desktop browser, just click the status button (by default, it appears as Active), then click “Add a status,” complete with the same manual status option, as well as the four pre-made statuses.

How to update your Google Chat status (Android)

Screenshot: Jake Peterson Screenshot: Jake Peterson

Google Chat’s status feature works exactly the same as Gmail’s, without having to enable the Chat feature first. To get started, just tap the hamburger menu icon in the top left, then tap Add a status. Again, type out your status and add an emoji from the smiley icon, or tap one of the four pre-made statuses from the list.

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