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How to know which google chat client a person whom you are chatting with is using? (obviously without asking him :))

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

On several clients (not all of them), you can either show the resource (client) through which the contact is logged on. Pidgin is one. It also lets you customise the resource string that others see.

Following are typical entries you'll see as a resource:

Resource: gmail.09CFCA5A
Status: Available
Resource: gmail.F6143747
Priority: 0
Status: Away
Resource: Talk.v1042089816B
Priority: 24
Status: Available
Resource: HomeE4B53097
Status: Available
Client: Pidgin 2.5.8 (libpurple 2.5.8)
Resource: gmail.F739C100
Priority: 24
Status: Available: Tricky !!!
Resource: Talk.v10481809E73
Priority: 24
Status: Available: Tricky !!!
Resource: 54B38B7D
Status: Available
Client: Pidgin 2.5.5 (libpurple 2.5.5)

The above list shows some contact logged in through multiple clients.

In Pidgin, you can view this info by either hovering over a contact's name in the Buddy List, or using "Get User Info.."

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Good find. Since you can customize what others can see, this is not exactly 'snooping' on the information as the OP seems to suggest. But existence of this capability suggests the protocol has means to convey this information (like the web-browser to server for example; which can also be tricked). – nik Aug 18 '09 at 17:20
Question is, can you trust this information (can we have more confidence here compared to a web-server trying to identify the browser)? – nik Aug 18 '09 at 17:22
I'd think so. You can spoof the identify the same way you can with a browser. It's definitely not snooping - I believe this is a feature of the Jabber protocol, and an integral part of a Jabber identifier (username@hostname/resoure) – nagul Aug 18 '09 at 17:57

When you chat using Google Talk, the client is communicating with Google Servers.
This is not a Peer-Peer communication.
It means, you are out of the other person's communication loop (in terms of protocol path).
So, it should not be feasible to figure out the client version over the communication path.

  • You can ask them (which you do not want to do)
  • Or, there may be some Google profile page that might show the client version they are using (however, I doubt that)
  • One more possibility is a primitive on the communication protocol
    to query this information with the peer client (which, I suspect, also does not exist)

I note the points here as a starter for anyone interested in digging this up further.
Would definitely like to know if there is a way to get this answer.

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Do the same contacts show up at the Gmail website? Else you can look it up there. But indeed, I couldn't find how to enable it either – Ivo Flipse Aug 18 '09 at 6:28

if you use pidgin with gtalk, you can do a detailed info, by right clicking, and see if they're using pidgin, gtalk or

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