Google™ Talk Web Status Indicators
When I first started asking around about the availability of GoogleTalk Web (Online) Status indicators one name kept popping up, Jon Burrows, it seems he's the one stop shop for all things GTalk Status related, so I headed to http://www.jonburrows.co.uk and had a wee poke around, it didn't take long to locate the section of his website devoted entirely to GTalk Status Indicators, what did take a little longer was tracking down how to use them but that's where customizetalk.com kicked in and saved the day.
While Jon Burrows is the one stop shop for all things Google Talk Status releated, CustomizeTalk.com is clearly the one stop shop for all things Google Talk related, their forum contains extensive information and from just a quick poke around it seems like a really friendly and vibrant community :) I did a quick search for web status and it handed back a huge range of solutions, pretty much all Jon Burrows related so I knew I was on the right track. I'd heard, and read, that the status indicators offered by Jon were at times a bit fickle, but from my own personal experience I wasn't at all deterred as what one's aren't, and from what I had read the issues Jon was, and is facing at times, are completely out of his control... all power to him I say, and a huge thanks for providing the service, it must be a huge zap on resources, time and money.
Approximately a month ago I applied for a status indicator for one of my GMail accounts and sure enough I encountered the problems others had mentioned, particularly the status images failing to load and my status not updating to reflect any changes I had made, but to be honest it was really only for the first 2-3 days if that and since then it's been pretty much smooth sailing with only the occasional hiccup to the service.
I added jabberonlinestatus [at] jabber.org and gtalkonlinestatus [at] googlemail.com as for me, it was unclear which one should be added to your friends list, there was an update to their forum Update on the Online Status Bot (4 Sept) which states gtalkonlinestatus [at] googlemail.com, yet there is a thread on Jon's site New Online Status Bot (20 February 06) which asks if jabberonlinestatus [at] jabber.org can be used instead, and then their is a PHP-Tutorial Show your Google Talk status on your website 17 January 06 which states that gtalkonlinestatus [at] googlemail.com is the old and jabberonlinestatus [at] jabber.org the new.
Logic would suggest that the posting Update on the Online Status Bot (4 Sept) which states gtalkonlinestatus [at] googlemail.com is the one to add would be correct, yet when I tried to add it as a friend to another Google ID I have it told me the friend didn't have an existing GMail Account and that an invite needed to be sent. I quickly logged into my other GMail account and it appears there was an issue with the gtalkonlinestatus account as it was showing as offline so I waited....
Eventually gtalkonlinestatus popped back online but my invitation remaind dormant so I withdrew the invitation, then removed gtalkonlinestatus from my friends list...
right click the username in your friends list
select Withdraw Invitation
I then went about submitting the request again, using firstname.lastname@example.org and true to form, in mere seconds my request was accepted.
click the icon, bottom left your main GoogleTalk window
if they have an existing Google Mail account the request will go through immediately
Acceptance came through within seconds so I fired back a message that contained (and only contained)...
and from there my unique url was immediately sent back to be. Now armed with my url/string I headed back to Jon's website to check out my options for a status indicator that I liked.
On 4th Sept 06 Jon added Use your own images which is a fantastic option but I was (and am always *blush* ) extremely short on time so this wasn't the best option for me, from there I scrolled down to Gtalk Online Status and checked out the image styles already available for users.
There's a wee range that covers just about all the basics you'd ever want, some are quite large and easily identifiable as being GoogleTalk related but they are too large for my situation so I opted for something smaller, it was a tough choice really as I liked 3 in particular...
Style 1 (the default)
I then grabbed my unique url (don't go using it because it will reflect my account status not yours :p )....
altered the code provided as per the instructions at Gtalk Online Status, which states all you need to do is replace the number 1 (default)...
with one of the others available, I finally settled on style 5 so I edited my code to read as...
and to embed it in this page I'm using....
<img align="absmiddle" alt="email@example.com" src="http://jabsv5.jonburrows.co.uk/gtalkstatus/5/YgwDzf1oFwqEyWlWLNnWZJGrOjiVhWi.jpg" />
The align="absmiddle" and alt="firstname.lastname@example.org" aren't required at all, it's just a personal preference of mine to set the alignment and generate some text when someone mouseovers the image :)
As with most of the styles that I played around with, Style 5 recognises your standard status messages, as such your online status indicator will reflect, Online, Busy and Offline which is really nice as there is nothing more frustrating than being Online, yet Busy, and having your status indicators imply that you're available for an IM session :)
I don't use my bee.geek GMail account a great deal, chances are if I'm on GoogleTalk it will be with my ibreak4u account, but I've signed that account up also and as the status for that will change more often than the above I've inlcuded my GoogleTalk online status indicator for that also, this account is using Style 4...
A huge thanks to Jon Burrows from http://www.jonburrows.co.uk for providing the service :)
If you want to know more about GoogleTalk including where to download then check out http://www.google.com/talk/
If you want to know more about Gmail then check out http://gmail.google.com