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I apologize if this is too generic or wrong place to ask this question but I really want to know if it is possible to find the IP address/location of a person you are chatting with using gmail or gtalk chat client.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 23 '11 at 21:52

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Question doesn't belong here. But the easy answer is: no. gtalk uses the XMPP protocol, and doesn't have direct connections between clients. Traffic is all transmitted through a server - in the case of gmail, that's google's servers. That's the only IP address you'll be able to get. – Mark H Jan 12 '11 at 15:27

In most cases the answer is no, because you are connecting to a hosted instance of an instant messaging service, not the person you are messaging, so even using a program like TCPView will only show connections to IPs owned by google.

My only suggestion is that you might be able to reveal their IP by establishing a direct connection. This is something possible in AIM and skype, but not with Google, because it uses a standard protocal that doesn't support that feature. You can also test file transfers and see if it reveals any new IPs but I doubt you'll find anything different.

Finally, even with an IP, there's no way for you to tell where that machine is located. The best you can do is identify the ISP providing the connection to the person you're talking to.

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Thanks! and except possibly law enforcement agencies ..normal people cannot get the exact info about owner of the machine ....right? – Manish Jan 12 '11 at 15:36
Law enforcement agencies aren't really the key. You need the cooperation of the target's Internet Service Provider to get their information. You're right in that there's pretty much zero chance they'll give out information unless law enforcement is involved, and even then, they are likely to resist unless lawyers and/or court orders are involved. – Alain Jan 12 '11 at 15:38

Social engineering answer: if you're chatting with them you probably already have their email address and thus their login name. So if you can manage to swindle them out of their password, or guess it, you can log into their account, after which gmail will tell you the ip address of the "Last Account Activity."

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