One of the advantages of good old email is that neither sender nor recipient needs to be online at the same time to communicate. On the one hand, it makes it easier to properly think about responses and formulate them. On the other hand, however, you may not know when or if the recipient will be able to read the email, much less send a reply. That’s why Google is now fortunately now rolling out a feature that will give you a clue of a colleague or recipient is out of reach and decide whether to still send them an email or wait for a more opportune time.
Unlike instant messaging services, email doesn’t really have a “status” to indicate your availability or presence. The closest you can get is an out of office convention implement by email services to automatically reply with a respectful message. It doesn’t, however, say when you’ll be back.
Gmail now can and it will show a notification at the bottom of the contact or compose window if the recipient has an Out of Office event activated on his or her G Suite. This way, you can choose whether to really disturb the other person if it’s important or be the good netizen and wait until they arrive. The date is shown only on the Compose window.
Almost ironically, Google is also rolling out the feature to Hangouts, a service that does have online or availability statuses. What it adds, however, is the info on when the user might be back.
The feature will be available to all G Suite users and both admins and end users don’t have to lift a finger to get it. The one requirement is that you have access to the recipients calendar and the latter also has an Out of Office event. The feature will be enabled by default but it can be disabled via the Google Calendar settings.