What Does the Orange Clock Mean on Google Chat?


If you have ever signed in to your Gmail account and received an instant message from one of your contacts, you have already used Google's instant messaging service, Google Talk. You can download the program to use all of the features, even when you are not signed in to Gmail, and see your contacts' online status.


  • Google Talk, colloquially known as Google Talk, is Google's downloadable chat program. With Google Talk, you can communicate to other Google users via instant message. The program also features the ability to transfer files to your chat partners, update a status message that your friends can see, participate in audio conferences and make free computer-to-computer long distance calls. Google Talk integrates with Gmail, Google's email service.


  • Your friends list contains the names of friends, family and associates regardless of their status. A colored orb or icon displays next to each person to indicate his status. When a user is online, you will see a green orb next to his name. The orb changes to red, with a horizontal line through it, when the user is busy. This indicates that the other person has changed his status or that he is viewing another application or program that takes up his whole screen. In addition to this, an orange clock icon indicates that your chat partner is idle and has not used his computer for some time. Off-line contacts will feature a gray orb.


  • You are still able to receive instant messages via Google Talk when you are idle. You will see these messages when you return to your screen. Thus, you may also send messages to your contacts when they are idle and they will be able to continue the conversation when they return. The idle icon automatically appears and will disappear by itself when you return to chatting.

Setting Availability

  • Although you can not manually set your availability on Google's chat service to idle, you can change it to busy if you are focusing your attention on another activity. A red orb will display next to your name on others' contact lists. Google Talk allows you to set a custom message to explain your status. You can also change your status back to available, to show the green orb, and, if you want, set a custom message with this sign on status.

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