What Does the Camera Symbol Mean in Google Chat?

by Aaron Wein

Google Chat, which appears whenever you open Gmail, includes several options for staying in touch with your contacts, including the ability to send instant messages or talk through a microphone. You also have the ability to talk face-to-face with a contact through video chat. Learn to access and use the video chat function in Google.

Camera Icon

When you open Google Chat, multiple symbols will appear next to your contacts. A camera symbol indicates that contact has set up video chat with their account, meaning that person can make video calls to others using the service.

Download Plug-In

Using the video function of Google Chat requires you download a plug-in for your browser. Visit the plug-in installation page and install the plug-in to your browser (see Resources). Once the installation completes, restart your browser.

Make a Video Call

Click a contact's name in the Google Chat contacts list to view a chat window. Click the camera icon at the upper-left corner of the chat window to make a video call.


Google Chat indicates a person's availability through a color-coded system. If the icon next to the person's name is green, the person is available to chat. A yellow icon indicates the person is inactive from Google Chat. A red icon means the person does not want to be disturbed. If no icon exists next to the person's name, the person is not logged in.

About the Author

Aaron Wein is a copy editor for Skagit Valley Publishing. He has been a writer and editor since 2004, contributing to Washington-based publications and clients such as the "Bellingham Herald," "Western Athletics," "GNAC Sports" and Microsoft. Wein obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism from Western Washington University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images