Gmail, Google Chat Getting Custom Activity Status Option

Google is adding the ability to set a custom status for Gmail and Google Chat. Users could earlier choose between three options — Active, Do not disturb, and Away — but can now add their custom message. The new status update capability for Gmail and Google Chat accompanies this month’s change in the name from “Rooms” to “Spaces”. As a part of the update, Google also mentioned new features such as inline threading, presence indicators, expressive reactions, and a collapsible view.

The ability to set custom status on Gmail and Google Chat is beginning to roll out for all users. It was first spotted by Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo and reported by 9to5Google. Gadgets 360, too, was able to independently verify the update.

Google will now let users set a custom status. Users can select a status message by tapping on the elliptical button in the top right corner for Gmail on the Web. Tapping on the said button earlier gave users three options — Active, Do not disturb, and Away. There’s now a fourth option — Add a status — that lets users set their own custom message.

Clicking on the Add a status button leads users to a pop-up menu that has four standard options — Be right back, Commuting, Off sick, and On holidays. Each of these options come with its own emoji — a shoe, a car, an emoji with a thermometer, and palm trees, respectively. A custom status can be set for a preselected duration, such as 30 minutes, one hour, today, or this week.

Users will now also have the option to set their own custom status by entering what they wish to convey in the text box above the aforementioned options. The text box also gives users the option to choose a custom emoji to go with the text. Once a user enters their message in the text box, a drop-down menu appears that lets them set the duration of the status.

Notably, users won’t be able to access this feature unless they have activated the integrated Gmail experience. Moreover, this ability is currently not supported on Gmail for Android and iOS, and is currently limited to Gmail for Web.


It’s Google I/O time this week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, as we discuss Android 12, Wear OS, and more. Later (starting at 27:29), we jump over to Army of the Dead, Zack Snyder’s Netflix zombie heist movie. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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