How Does The Typing Awareness Indicator Work?

We all know how annoying the typing awareness indicator can be — but for most of us, our knowledge about the ubiquitous chat device stops there. When I stopped to think about it, though, I couldn't help but wonder: How does the typing awareness indicator work, actually? I mean, yes, it tells you when someone is typing, so obviously it's connected to whether or not someone is actively using the keyboard — but when does it start? Does it stop if someone stops typing? If so, how long a pause does it take before it stops? What actions specifically dictate its appearance and disappearance? I just have so many questions!

Luckily, though, I'm not alone. The folks over at Slate were also plagued by these questions — and they even went so far as to perform a few experiments to see if they could suss out the answers. Not only that, but they arranged it all into a nifty little video so you can see all of the experiments as they happen. It's pretty cool, so I highly recommend scrolling down to watch the full video; in the meantime, though, here's the short version of what they found:

1. When Does the Typing Awareness Indicator Appear?

Those little dots (or bubbles, if you prefer) appear the moment you start typing. This is not surprising, but hey, at least we now know that there's absolutely no delay.

2. How Long Does It Last?

It vanishes after about a minute. Specifically, if you start typing and you don't send your text within 60 seconds, the typing awareness indicator goes away — no matter how long you type or how long the text sits on your screen.

3. Does It ALWAYS Last 60 Seconds?

Yep. When the test was performed under all four of the conditions seen here, the dots always disappeared after one minute was up.

4. Does the Gchat Typing Awareness Indicator Work the Same Way?

Gchat's TAI — the words “Annie96 is typing...” and “Annie96 has entered text” — is a little bit different that most cell phone text message TAIs. It lasts for 100 seconds, or over half a minute longer. It also reappears if you stop typing and then start editing your message, which text message TAIs don't seem to do.

5. What If You Type Continuously on Gchat?

Text message TAIs dissapear at the 60-second mark, even if you're still typing. For Gchat, though, it's a little longer: 120 seconds. All told, the Gchat TAI lasts for two minutes at its longest.

6. What About Facebook Messenger?

Like text message and Gchat TAIs, Facebook Messenger's TAI appears the moment you start typing. However, it only lasts for a mere eight seconds before it disappears. If you type continuously, it vanishes after 30 seconds.

The experiments are a lot of fun to watch, so check out the full video below to see all this in action — along with a few other useful tidbits of information. Happy chatting!

Images: Slate (6)