Bug in Google Talk’s Invisible Status Feature

Our reader, Anirudh Mehta, discovered a bug in Google Talk’s invisible status feature available in its Gmail Chat version. If use smartly, you can figure out if the girl next door is really invisible or avoiding you. ๐Ÿ˜›

Here are steps:

  1. Set the chat as off the record with target user (how?). This can be done only when the other user is online. (need help?)
  2. Now try sending chat to that user when he is invisible or offline.
  3. If he is invisible, then he will receive chat.
  4. But if he Is offline, then you will receive error “<username> did not receive your chat”.


Point 1: When a chat is set off the record, it will no longer get stored in your Gmail account.

Point 2: When you send a chat message to offline or invisible user, it gets delivered by default. At receiving end if user is online, a chat screen pops up showing him your message. If he is offline, your chat message will go to inbox as a mail.

Now if you put together above points then you will notice that, when you set chat off the record it can’t be delivered to inbox as mail, so it will be delivered only if user is online (no matter if he is invisible).

Now the only tricky part is finding a user online for once to set chat off the records. This doesn’t seem hard as invisible status is still limited to Gmail version of Google Talk and you may be in luck if your friend uses Google Talk desktop clients/gadgets or third party IM client to chat.

Related: Find Who is Invisible on Yahoo Messenger


Anirudh Mehta July 20, 2008

Thanx Rahul For Publishing On Your Blog.

onlineguid July 20, 2008

Figured it out a long time back..

Anyways good post for newbies ๐Ÿ˜‰

Rahul Bansal July 20, 2008

I thank you buddy for sharing this… ๐Ÿ™‚

Deepak Jain July 21, 2008

@ Online…

If you knew about dis bug earlier den why didn’t you feel like sharing it with us?? ๐Ÿ™‚

@ Rahul:

If you can find out something that can automatically detect all the friends in invisible mode than it would be highly appreciated buddy..

Deepak Jain July 21, 2008

I tried using this.. But even when the other user is offline and the chat was off the record I got de message

[email protected] is offline and can’t receive messages right now.”

Please let me know what is the problem?? Is this bug being fixed?? ๐Ÿ™

BlogsDNA July 21, 2008

hey Rahul this trick is not working on my Gtalk is this some version specific.

onlineguid July 21, 2008

@ Deepak Jain

If you are getting that message
[email protected] is offline and canโ€™t receive messages right now

It means that the person is really offline , and not invisible


I dont think this trick works in gtalk .. It works only in gmail ..

Rahul Bansal July 23, 2008

It doesn’t matter if you are using gtalk or gmail.
Also next person can not be invisible from gtalk as of now.
So if you go off the record and send a chat to a user, then error will always mean he is offline.
Also if you don’t get an error that will mean he is invisible as well as using Gmail. Because Gmail only supports invisible feature as of now… ๐Ÿ˜‰

BlogsDNA July 24, 2008

Aha Thanks Rahul, it looks i just over looked and was under impression this trick will work in Gtalk.
Sorry for my noobiess Question.

Rahul Bansal July 27, 2008

Its k man… ๐Ÿ™‚
Sometime we have something else on mind while reading a post, so its natural to misinterpret it…

Deepak July 30, 2008

Good post!!

But I was looking out for something more. Can we have invisible feature in Gtalk? (by some 3rd party software)

Rahul Bansal July 30, 2008

I use gAlwaysIdle, a third part hack for GoogleTalk.
Its not makes you invisible but still works good for me. ๐Ÿ™‚
Also check out Google Talk Lab Edition. It also have invisible status mode.

Quakeboy July 31, 2008

Wow Rahul
you are on GOS blog by Ionut..
Hope to see you on Techmeme soon !

Rahul Bansal August 1, 2008

Thanks buddy… ๐Ÿ™‚

taxist September 13, 2008

you can actually go off record even when the user is offline is you’re using the google talk client for windows…

Rahul Bansal September 13, 2008

Didn’t know that!
Thanks for added info… ๐Ÿ™‚

Deepak September 22, 2008

Bug got resolved by des google guys..
This trick not working any more. Request to the admin to mention it on the top of this post.

Anirudh September 22, 2008

@ deepak…

I dont anticipate this bug got rectified yet..

Still alive for me.

Deepak September 22, 2008

@ Anirudh:

Sorry.. Later on I noticed that it is not possible to take the chat off the record when someone is offline but it was possible earlier.. But the bug works f9 when the chat is taken off the record at some earlier stage.

Sorry for the wrong info ๐Ÿ™

Anirudh September 22, 2008

@ Deepak ..
Well U can still take chat off the record when someone is offline with your gtalk client not gmail client.
Nyways,It was never possible with gmail client.

N No sorry please. Mistake are made to be done.

Houston September 30, 2008

@Anirudh – Could anyone tell me the difference between these messages? Thanks

XXXis offline and can’t receive messages right now.

XXXX is offline. Messages you send will be delivered when XXXX comes online

Anirudh September 30, 2008

@ Houston
“XXXX is offline. Messages you send will be delivered when XXXX comes online ”
U will receive this message when ur chat is not off the record. It means offline chats will be stored in mail n will be delivered when concerned person comes online.

“XXXis offline and canโ€™t receive messages right now.”
U will receive this message when ur chat is off the record plus when concerned person is invisible.

chinnu May 4, 2010


AS you mentioned second point where xxx is offline & can’t recieve messages right now.

I have come across similar issue but litte different .
Issue:it shows xxx is available(online) ,but when treid to send chat message ,it displays xxx didn’t recieve your chat.what could be the reason?

Deepak Jain October 1, 2008

@Anirudh – Who is this ‘XXXX’? ๐Ÿ˜›

Rahul Bansal October 1, 2008

@Deepak Jain
XXXX stands for just a name! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I think you received above error messages from different clients. There may be some differences in error reporting between Gmail Chat, Google Talk desktop client and third party messenger like pidgin.

Inquisitive December 11, 2008

Hello Rahul

I got an issue. I blocked a person on GTalk. But still the person is able to ping me on chat from the same id that I had blocked. Just to confirm, I chkd the blocked lids again, the personโ€™s id is still there.

How is this possible?

Pls throw some light on this asap.

Deepak Jain December 11, 2008

Try unblocking the guy and block it again..
Lets see what happens..

Dnyanesh December 11, 2008

I found your(google’s invisibility status) post ripped off @ JaysTech


Inquisitive December 11, 2008

@Deepak: Thanks for ur response. I have tried doing that many times but the problem persists. From what I understand, there are three possibilities:

1. Either there is some bug in GTalk which the guy is exploiting (which I think is not true else the news of the bug would have been splashed all over the web by now)

2. The guy has planted a trojan on my comp and is exploiting thru that (again not possible. I know my system and it has adequate security. ๐Ÿ™‚ )

3. Third and the most probable (according to me), there is some kind of Anti-Block s/w which he’s using to do what he’s doing (I hear that people have used such s/ws in the case of Windows Live Msngr earlier but am yet to hear of anything of this sort with regard to GTalk)

So that leaves us at square one.

Any light on this subject would be highly appreciated as this has become more of a puzzle to me now. ๐Ÿ™

Deepak Jain December 13, 2008

You have started puzzling us aswell..

As of now, I have never come across any such instances.. Hope too soon I’ll get updates about it. Will let you know then.

gar December 14, 2008

how can i know who online among offline ๐Ÿ™

Rahul Bansal December 16, 2008

Read this post! Thats all u can do… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anirudh December 16, 2008

I believe he must using some other client like pidgin to send you chat.
I have heard that it lets you find persons who has blocked you on G-talk or yahoo. But i am not sure if it allows you to send message to that person.

Rahul Bansal December 16, 2008

I think once you block a person on any IM network, he must not be able to send you chat on that IM network anyway.
If he does succeed, that will be regarded as a bug in network.protocol which again will be fixed immediately. ๐Ÿ™‚

Inquisitive December 16, 2008

Bug or no bug.. I am still gettin the messages.. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Anirudh December 16, 2008

Ya, you got point. But question is its not a normal protocol bug since i haven’t encountered it with normal gmail or gtalk client.

Try this. But it’s just a thought. Unblock him and take chat off the record and then block him.
In this case you got two protections – invisible + block ๐Ÿ™‚
Sorry, i know it sounds silly, but still nothing hard in giving it a try. Also, only because of this silly attempts, i discovered this invisible hack.

Rahul Bansal December 20, 2008

I never encountered such problem with any IM network in my life.
Of course it is possible such things can happen but again they will be rectified with highest priority.

Rahul December 26, 2008

So, i’m really interested to know if there are any websites like 4invisible.com so that we can find out the ppl whose status are “invisible”

Rahul Bansal December 29, 2008

This bug is of a nature which will not allow itself to be exploited using services like 4invisbile.com
But if we happen to discover anything in futrue, we will surely post about it! ๐Ÿ™‚

samaresh biswal January 28, 2009

thnks dude 4 th post

Deepak Jain January 29, 2009

@ samaresh biswal
Welcome to Devils Workshop dude ๐Ÿ™‚

shooli March 1, 2009

it didn’t work but you can invisibles in yahoo by vizgin.com , I didn’t find anything useful for gmail

catchme March 11, 2009

I have set one of my friend off the record.It was working fne but recently when I saw him online, i tried to chat wid him,but it is showing that user(name) did not receive your chat.But the status of that person is showing online.Can u plz tell me the reason?

Anirudh Mehta March 12, 2009

@ catchme
That happens sometimes. Mostly its due to your network connection. If you have bit torrent client running in background or even updates on, this is most likely to happen.
You will receive this message even without setting chat as off the record since server id not able to connect to other client due to interrupted connection.

Anirudh Mehta March 12, 2009

@ Rahul
There is no script yet like invisible.r. However i am currently working on script.
Main concept involved in making a chat off the record and then examining the message we got from server. Only problem is you need to be in friend list before you can check if person is online or not. I am currently working to write the same that won’t work online, however you can download the software and run it. It will auto sent invisible message to everyone in friend list and will notify about those who are invisible.

Anirudh Mehta March 12, 2009

@ schooli
I believe either you are trying to advertise your yahoo invisible detecting site or you havn’t followed the steps carefully. It works.

Rahul Bansal March 19, 2009

About… “It will auto sent invisible message to everyone in friend list”
I have 2000+ contacts in my Gmail and Gtalk also have 500+ contacts. ๐Ÿ™
I guess if you are writing your own script, better give ability to operate on Groups or let people select multiple friends manually.

phaaroo singh March 20, 2009

i think the ‘bug’ has since been fixed. i cant do the bounce check nymore. can nyone confirm this?

Sambit April 8, 2009

I blocked a friend in gtalk, is it possible that, still that friend can send me message though gmail chat. As after blocking that friend i cannt see her image in gtalk but i can see image in gmail. can any one put some light in this case…

Rahul Bansal April 9, 2009

I guess your friend won’t be able to send you message in Google Talk but he can still send you email using regular Gmail.
By the way, you can use Gmail filter to block mails from him.

Sambit April 9, 2009


Thanks for response.
it is not clear. can you please tell me, is he able to send offline chat message through gmail chat, as I can see his image in gamil chat.

Rahul Bansal April 21, 2009

He shouldn’t be able to send u chat once u block him.

Anฤฑl UฤžUR May 5, 2009

Also, in addition there is a bug that i found.
when you set your status invisible, if others have invisible option they see you ofline, but others don’t have invisible option they see you aviable.

Rahul Bansal May 8, 2009

@Anil Gaur
I dont find bug you have described in my tests.

victory June 12, 2009

Isnt there any way to find invisible people on gtalk without having to buzz them..?

khan October 20, 2009

http://www.checkgoogletalkstatus.com/ was the best

but doesnt work anymore…anybody who knows a similar site?

CM October 24, 2009

Read through the thread on finding the status of someone who is in invisible mode on gmail chat, am I’m not real savy on all the computer lingo and/or how all the programs work, but my question is, what if a person has their gmail chat linked to their cell phone and they are showing offline online in the gmail chat?? I’ve looked at other buddies who are not linked to their cell and when they are offline I see that the “off the record” is grayed out, but on the buddy who is linked to their cell and showing offline the “off the record” is available to click on, so then, how would would actually know when they are online or not since they always have their cell phone on?? Hope that I explained this clearly. Thanks for any help with this.

manpreet November 8, 2009

hi guys on my orkut account my google talk s always ofline…don knw why….my orkut acount is on yahoo

ooty December 22, 2009

its not working

aviral January 10, 2010

thanx dude
thank u very much
dis was very helpful 2 me

Gibin April 11, 2010

Thnks for u r great support

Venu April 17, 2010

Hi Rahul,

I always set my chat to invisible in gmail. However, some of my friends are knowing that I am avaible straight away. No, they are not using the bug u mentioned in this post. Any idea why I appear available even though I set it as invisible? Any latest bug in gmail?

Aditya Kane April 17, 2010

one reason could be u might be signing into Gtalk and then gmail simultaneously. This can end up making invisible mode as useless. Otherwise there seems to be no bug.

James April 18, 2010

What does it mean when it keeps saying “Username did not receive your chat”??

Aditya Kane April 18, 2010

means the person is offline and not invisible.

nirisha May 31, 2010

hi sir …..wat u said is k…. that if the person is invisible then the chat will go and if not not it won’t go ….. but its not happening because ppl send me message through that saying, u see wen u r ol… so tell me pls do we have any softwares to install which can show ppl who r invisible… pls if so telll

Neerja June 8, 2010

I am facing an issue with my gmail account. Whenever i try to chat through gmail or even with gtalk , most of the time it shows me the message that the other person didn’t recieve your message & this issue i face with almost everyone i chat to .It’s getting difficult for me to chat through both the way ( gmail & gtalk as well) Even though people whom i chat with stay online ( so, it’s really not the case as u explained above that may be the other person is offline so u recieve that message ) Please suggest me the way how can i rectify it?

Michelle June 30, 2010

I think I found another bug. When you click on a contact in your chat list you most likely get a message of “XXXX is offline. Messages you send will be delivered when XXXX comes online.” which shows in the chat box automatically. But for some contacts (perhaps they are invisible?)it just says “XXXX is offline and can’t receive messages right now.” Can you follow up on this?

Jennifer July 17, 2010

Yeah i noticed that too. My best friends offline message said “XXXX is offline and cant recieve messages right now.” so i dont know if its a matter of blocking because i talked to her last night.

Jennifer July 17, 2010

But i wanted to know how I can tell if someone has blocked me without downloading a software. Is that possible?

sam August 27, 2010

hey thanks a ton…..even though i cudn’t understane d “If he is offline, your chat message will go to inbox as a mail.” thing but up to sum extent it helped me a lot…now i can spy on my friends..lolz,,but i would really appreciate if you could tell me what does d above line means? because d reason y i mentioned it was i tried to send message to my friend when she was offline but neither of us got any offline message in our inbox?

sk123 September 7, 2010

Hi, on Google chat using Pidgin, I unchecked the box marked “show offline buddies” so it only shows buddies who are on, however next to one of my buddies it states “offline.” Does that mean this person is online but just invisible?

Sandy September 12, 2010

Hey its possible to find out INVISIBLE without buzzing them.. Sign in igoogle settings and gchat application and do try to find out whos CHAT pic is showing in INVISIBLE status that person will be Online.. but yes this works only for tht who has UPLOADED ONLY PIC.. so guys keep finding INVISIBLE people…hehe

ritzi January 2, 2011

Hi Sandy,

Please let me know I have a friend on gtalk whoze pic is uploded in Display image. However , I want to know what do i do with igoogle settings?

Sue March 8, 2011

This works but if the chat goes through, the end user knows you are on to the fact that they are on invisible mode. Not very discreet.

saranya March 13, 2011

thanks yaar…its working out…:)

kassidy February 1, 2012

well, im am trying to open a chat box but the google acount will not let me open a chat room up. i can click on the names as many times as i want bnothing happens. i can see iff the people are online and whenn the name has a green dot i click on the name and the chat icon goes beside their name but i cant talk to them? why is this ? i dont understand adn i need help. please if you know how to fix this tell me.

Nick April 11, 2012

Do anybody know if it’s a bug that you CAN NOT see someone on GTalk on PC version BUT CAN see on Mobile version at the same time?