I have seen these icons coming in front of sms messages and in contact list. What they stand for?

These icons are just like a "clock"


The icon refers to that contact's "availability":

  • Green: Available. You are online and ready to chat.
  • Yellow: Idle. Your status automatically changes to idle when you're away from your computer for 15 minutes. You can't manually select to appear idle
  • Red: Busy. This lets your contacts know you're busy and don't want to be interrupted
  • Grey: Signed out of chat, or Invisible. If you set your status to Invisible, you'll appear to be signed out of chat even when you're actually signed in.

Source: Google Chat support answer

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