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To begin sending and receiving IMs with your G+ contacts, locate the section labeled as "Chat" on the left-hand column upon signing in to your account. While most users will already be signed in, you may be required to sign in to Google Talk services. Click the "Sign in" link and enter your ID and password to continue.

Google Plus allows users to set their availability to let others know they can send or receive IMs. When you set your availability, an icon will appear next to your name on your contact's buddy lists and will read "Available".

To begin, click on the "Availability" tab under the Chat search bar. A pop-up menu will appear with the following options:

  • Available : By choosing this option, you signify you are at your computer and able to send and receiving messages. The available setting is the default.
  • Busy : The busy setting should be used whenever you must step away from your desk or computer for an extended period of time. Otherwise, you might have IMs stack up and people waiting for a reply!
  • Invisible : Want to chat without people knowing you are signed in? Using this setting makes you appear as offline, leaving you free to choose who you want to chat with without interruption. You may still, however, receive messages from persons who believe you will receive it when you sign back in.
  • Sign Out : How do you sign out of Google Plus chat and disable receiving messages altogether? This is the answer. Click this to really go offline and close the buddy list. You will still be able to use Google Plus.

The availability panel also features two options, including "Chat settings" and "Help," which allows you to set the source of your webcam video and audio for chat, enable high-resolution video, enable or disable sounds when you receive a message and find additional articles and resources for using Google Plus.


What Do Those Icons Mean in Google+?

Green Dots: The green circle icon signifies a user is available for chat.

Yellow Dots: Yellow circles mean the user is idle. When this occurs, IMs sent to that user may not be answered right away as they either have stepped away from the computer without setting availability to away, or have not touched Google+ in awhile.

Red Dots: Red circle icons signify the user is busy and should not be interrupted.

Gray Dots: Gray circles mean the contact is offline and cannot respond to messages.

Camera Icons: When you see the camera icon, it means the user has enabled their webcam and may be available for video chat in a Hangout somewhere. Camera icons which appear yellow or red carry the same meaning as the dot icons above.


Google Plus Chat Settings and Functions



Quick Tips:

- You have to click on the “Chat with people on Google+” link to enable chat within Google+ but then you get IM functionality.

- When chatting to people you can drag the top of the chatting box to resize the chatting window

- Go start a chat on Google Talk on your phone. Then go over to Google+. The conversation is all there.


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