How to Prevent Gmail From Revealing Your Online Status

When you email somebody often and frequently enough, Gmail adds them to the Quick Contacts panel automatically for fast and convenient access.

Frequent Contacts See When You Are Online, Can Chat Instantly

Another kind of access is also added in the background, however. The friend or colleague can automatically see when you are online in the Google Talk network — via Gmail, for example — and ready for chat.

If you can forego that convenience and would rather decide individually who can and who cannot see when you are and when you are not online, Gmail provides this level of control as well. When somebody, frequent contact or new acquaintance, invites you to chat, you will be asked for your explicit approval.

Prevent Gmail from Revealing Your Online Status Automatically

To reveal your online status only to and automatically accept instant messages only from approved contacts in Gmail:

  • Click the gear in Gmail's top right corner.
  • Select Mail settings from the menu that comes up.
  • Go to the Chat tab.
  • Make sure Only allow people that I've explicitly approved to chat with me and see when I'm online is selected under Auto-add suggested contacts:.
  • Click Save Changes
Was this page helpful?