Monday, July 1, 2013

Get back Gtalk offline message notifications

They introduced hangouts and everything got screwed up for me. No more status messages, no more "busy", no more "invisible". "Are you kidding me?" was my first reaction. No. They were dead serious and I was doomed.

More importantly, before hangouts, if someone pings you on gtalk when you are offline, you would get an email saying that you had been sent a message, even the message would be there in the email. With hangouts, that is gone too! And for me, that was bad - really really bad! Now, you won't get any mail. Not just that, the chat thread containing new messages won't even get marked as "unread".

Here's a solution I cooked up...

After installation, whenever someone pings you when you are offline, you would get an unread conversation in a Gmail label "Offline Chats".

Here's my sister pinging me while I am offline:
Here's what I get in Gmail when I log in:

How to install userscripts: Firefox
Install the addon called greasemonkey, then simply click on the userscript link.

How to install userscripts: Chrome
Install the addon called tampermonkey, then simply click on the userscript link. Chrome actually does not need another addon to run these scripts though; you could just follow the following steps instead.
  • Right click on the userscript link, click on "save link as" and save the user.js file somewhere convenient.
  • Go to chrome://extensions/
  • Drag and drop the saved user.js file into the chrome tab in which the above link is opened. Done!
Installation
  1. Authenticate the Google apps script for gtalk offline message notifications that I wrote, by clicking on this link.
  2. Install the userscript for gtalk offline message notifications in your browser.
  3. If you don't trust these scripts, you could download the source, go through the code to see that no crazy stuff is being done, and then follow the installation steps in the readme file from the github repository for gtalk offline message notifications.
Note
Initially, there were some restrictions for the setup to work. Like "user must explicitly log out for the setup to detect that they are no longer online" etc. No more such restrictions! (so, the following is now outdated)
  1. Click on the "Sign out" button.
  2. Either sign out of chat or go invisible.
That means, the setup will still think that you are online if
  1. You simply close Gmail tab in your browser without doing any of above.
  2. You simply close the browser itself.
  3. You put your computer to sleep or directly shut it down or plug out the network cable etc.

5 comments :

  1. Even I felt devastated when I first came to know that I would not be notified of any offline messages inside gmail. But with the hangouts app on phone, I am cool with it. My phone (and hence the app) is on 24 hrs a day as compared to computer (and hence gmail) which is on hardly few hours on an average. So I receive the notifications just like my messages/whatsapp. :|

    By the way, for some the offline message emails still come. I don't know what's the funda. :-/

    I do miss the status and status messages on the hangouts app, but I don't think anyone but Google can do anything about it. :(

    Nice hack though. :)

    Reply Delete
    1. Thanks Saheel!

      Yeah, I agree. This hack is mostly for people like me who don't have smartphones and the only way they use gmail is in their browsers and the only way they use gtalk in in gmail. :)

      Delete
  2. Is this solution works for offline hangouts messages in gmail web interface only, or it solve problem for receiving offline gtalk messages in jabber clients too?

    Reply Delete
    1. It works only for Gmail web interface.

      But the thing is, now Google, by default marks those threads which contain offline messages as unread and puts them in your inbox.

      Delete
    2. Yes, I see this too, but I use Gmail interface not often, most of time I use Jabber client for talking and thunderbird mail app for reading mail. So now I didn't see any offline message sent to me, before I open web interface :(

      Maybe Google have some option how to receive offline messages?

      Delete

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