Enable And Disable ‘Seen’ Report In Google Hangouts

I’m not entirely sure when this happened but jumping on to the bandwagon that prevents us from ignoring the people who IM us, Google has added the dreaded ‘Seen’ status report to Google Hangouts. When you read a message from a contact, they will know you’ve read it. The Chrome app, extension, Gmail Hangouts interface, and the Android app have been effected received the update. To be fair, you get proper warning of the new feature being enabled and unlike Whatsapp, Google Hangouts lets you disable it. Here’s how to do that in your browser, and on your Android device.

Android – Google Hangouts

Launch the Hangouts app and open the navigation drawer to visit the app’s settings. If you have more than one account configured, you will have to turn the ‘seen’ report off for each one separately. Select an account and when switched to its settings, you will see a brand new option ‘Show my last seen’ to enable or disable, as per your preference. The ‘Seen’ option in Hangouts on Android was added in version 2.5.


Chrome – Hangouts App & Extension

Click the little drop-down arrow next to the search bar at the top of the conversation threads to open the settings screen. Scroll down past the ‘Set your mood for today’ button and you will see the ‘Show my Hangouts contacts when I was last seen on Hangouts….’ option. Enable or disable it to suit yourself.


Gmail Interface

If you don’t have an Android phone, the Hangouts app or extension installed, or just don’t use Chrome, you can still use Hangouts in the Gmail web interface. Seen reports are enabled there as well though they are opt-in. To disable them, click the little drop-down arrow next to your user photo, scroll down past the ‘Set your mood for today’ option to find the same ‘Show my Hangouts contacts when I was last seen on Hangouts….’ option that you get with the app and extension.

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About Kelli Smith

Kelli Smith
Kelli runs customer support and creates content for Skillcrush, a digital skills training and education platform with friendly instructors, an active student community, and laser focus on helping you achieve your career goals with technology. She has an MBA and successfully ran an international company and her own freelancing business before pursuing her passion for tech by taking advanced web development classes. Kelli loves listening to tech podcasts at 2x speed, looking for cute Corgi photos online and teaching and performing country line dancing—as a true Texan living in Finland would do. Say hi on Twitter.

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