The switch from Google Talk to Google Hangouts has left some users confused. With the old GTalk client, you could easily see who was online, idle or offline. With Google Hangouts, it’s a little more difficult. Here’s the best way to tell if people are online in Google Hangouts.
Using the Google Chrome Hangouts Plugin in Windows, you have a few indicators on a user’s status.
Users who are offline also won’t have any indicator from the friend list. However, if you open a chat window, a message will appear that tells you they are not on Hangouts right now.
Users who are online and idle won’t have any indicator from the friend list. You will have to open a chat window to see if the person is online. The window will appear without any type of indication.
What about Android users? Well sorry. At the moment there doesn’t appear to be a way to tell if users or offline or online. The lack of clear indicators on the friends list has been an annoyance to many users on all versions of Hangouts. Hopefully Google will fix this problem with an update in the future.