Google Talk is an efficient Instant Messaging client with some really nice set of features, but it does miss out on a few basic and often required features. GTalk provides users to set any status they wish like the “Busy” status when the indicator turns red and the regular available status, with green indicator.
You can also set a custom status or keep a constantly updating status like the name of the music track you are listening to. But like many other IM Clients, GTalk is missing an equally useful and widely used status message of being “invisible”.
I know that being invisible kind of negates the whole concept of “Instant” messaging, but not all of us have friends who respect the “Busy” status against our names. Yes, we can block such people, but what if we need to stay hidden just for a while, and don’t want to do the whole blocking/unblocking process every time?
The answer is simple – We set the status as “Invisible”. Lets see how we can achieve that using Google Talk.
Option 1 : Use A Different Version Of GTalk Client:
Did you know there are more than one versions of Google Talk available? One is the regular version which we use and which can be downloaded from the Google Talk page.
Update: Google Talk Labs Edition has been discontinued.
But there is another official version, which is code-named Google Talk Labs edition. It’s a beta product that has some features that the current GTalk client is missing – like setting the status to invisible.
The Google Talk Labs version has the invisible feature baked in it and I am hoping that sooner than later this feature would be enabled for the regular client. Till that time if you need to have the Invisible status handy, you can use this GTalk version instead.
Other Advanced features of Google Talk labs Edition:
- Get notification from multiple service like GMail, Orkut, Google Calendar.
- Send and Receive real emoticons.
- Better looking Interface.
- Save screen space – All chat windows open as tabs in the client window itself.
Get the Google Talk Labs Edition. (Update: Discontinued)
Option 2: Use The Google Talk Gadget:
Google Talk Gadget is a handy online resource, which acts as a web messenger for Google Talk. It’s an official Google release, and can be accessed by going here.
It lacks the notifications features which the regular Google Talk Desktop Client provides, but this is great for accessing chat quickly on computers which do not have the desktop client installed.
The good part – It has the “Invisible” status option. This is the 2nd way to go offline on GTalk.
Option 3: Use Chat Gadget in GMail or iGoogle:
GMail already has the option of instant messaging your friends via the GTalk gadget that can be enabled in the sidebar. The same option is now also available on iGoogle.
This is another option to stay invisible while being signed in. If you use GMail quite often this would be the more convenient option.
There is a small limitation however. If you are signed on the regular Google Talk client on the desktop, you cannot change the status to invisible here, since that already shows a different status and doesn’t support the invisible status. It will throw a error message saying “Oops! You are not invisible because you’re also using a desktop software that does not support invisibility.”
But if you are using the labs edition mentioned above, this works perfectly well.
Option 4: Use 3rd Party Web/Desktop Applications:
If you prefer using 3rd party applications which allow multiple account sign-in’s like Imo.im (Web Based App) or Pidgin – the multi protocol messenger (Desktop App), you can set the invisible status in there and it will work just fine.
This is the 4th option for you to stay offline or achieve the “invisible” status.
These are the few ways you can set your status to “invisible” or Appear Offline on GTalk. Are there any other methods you use to achieve the same result or the ones mentioned above are the only options? Which among these 4 would you prefer to use?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Further Reading About Google Products: