New in Gmail and in the Hangouts Chrome app - status messages!
Set your Status on Hangouts in Gmail

Status messages for Hangouts in Gmail are “available” starting today! Status messages make it easy to tell your Gmail contacts what you’re doing - whether you're going on a trip, working from home on Tuesday, or thinking about adopting a puppy. 

You can see your friends’ statuses by selecting the “Contacts” tab on the bottom left corner of Hangouts. If you’re not already using Hangouts in Gmail, simply click on your photo above the chat list and select “Try the new Hangouts”.
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