With Chat serving as a key part of the integrated Gmail experience, Google lets users quickly specify their activity status. In addition to the existing availability options, you’re now able to set a custom status in Gmail and Chat on the web.

Update 8/12: You can now set a status via Gmail and Google Chat for Android. For both apps, it’s housed in the navigation drawer.

Tapping “Add a status” opens a new screen where you can “Write your own,” select an emoji, and then set a “Clear status after” increment. Additionally, the four default options are offered.

This is widely rolled out if you have “Chat” enabled in Gmail for Android settings. You have to enable it on a per-device basis. It’s not yet available on iOS.


Original 6/29: This month’s announcement that the Gmail web client was getting a navigation redesign was accompanied by a revamp of “Rooms” into “Spaces.” As part of that latter update, Google touted “new features” like inline threading, presence indicators, and custom statuses.

That last capability is beginning to go live. As spotted by Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo today, tapping the status indicator pill next to the search bar provides a new “Add a status” option that’s accompanied by a pencil icon. The message you enter gets appended to the existing Automatic, Do not disturb, and Set as away — though, there’s also a fourth automatic Idle/orange — options/dots. 

Tapping opens a “Your status” pop-up with defaults like “Be right back” (30 mins), “Commuting” (1 hour), “Out sick” (Today), and “Vacationing” (This week). Of course, you can “Write your own” and select an optional accompanying emoji. Afterward, you have to specify when you want the status to automatically clear. There are presets, while Custom time frames are also available. 

Besides Gmail, the ability to set a custom status is also available in the recently-redesigned Chat web app/PWA. It’s not yet available in the Gmail navigation drawer (or Chat) for Android and iOS, nor is it reflected. 

This functionality dates back to Google Chat and is also available in classic Hangouts. Be sure you have the integrated Gmail experience enabled to access today.

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[Update: Android] Gmail and Google Chat now support custom statuses on the web
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