Most users of Google chat know that you can display your chat status for others to see. You can also turn off your chat status for everyone or add a personal status that is visible to everyone.
How do you check if others are available?
If you send a chat to someone, it is often useful if you can see whether the person is active or inactive in Gmail or Google Chat. This way you can better assess whether you will get a (quick) response back.
The inactive status is represented by an orange circle with the term inactive (see Idle example below).
The other three statuses and their icons can be found in the table below. Hopefully this will give you a better grip on your expectations and therefore probably fewer disappointments!