Back when we reviewed the Nexus S and Android 2.3, one of our only complaints was that gingerbread sorely needed front facing video chat support. Third party video chat clients take time to be updated to support new devices, and at that point there wasn't a simple solution. It seemed inevitable that Google would leverage existing Google Talk video support to enable video chat not just between phones but also the desktop.

Google today announced just what we've been waiting for. First party video chat support is coming in Android 2.3.4 to Nexus S devices as an OTA update in the next few weeks. Other Android 2.3+ devices will get the update in the future depending on manufacturer OTA update releases. 

The update will enable video chat support on devices over 3G, 4G (if your carrier supports it) or WiFi between enabled Android 2.3+ smartphones and tablets, and the desktop Google Talk client. 

 

In the client, a video or voice chat button will appear next to contacts which can then be tapped to initiate the chat. The client will suspend video chat and continue audio as well if the video chat session loses focus in Android, and any text chat recieved will be superimposed on the ongoing video chat. The interface looks like a slimmed-down version of what we saw in Android 3.0 on the Motorola Xoom. 

Google has also provided a short video demonstrating overall functionality. 

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  • macs - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Ok, this is good but a bit too late.
    WE WANT ICE CREAM! I hope to see it at Google I/O in a couple of weeks
    Reply
  • tekzor - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    got some camel lovers at google huh?
    NICE
    Reply
  • codedivine - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I may be being snarky here, but this is too trivial a news to be reported on Anandtech. Reply
  • Cali3350 - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Im happy to hear it, but this isnt more Engadget material than anandtech material?

    Besides Skype is what matters to me. Until android gets video support for that I dont care, noone I know uses gChat.
    Reply
  • Souka - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Perhaps it'll now change.... Reply
  • Zoomer - Friday, April 29, 2011 - link

    Personally I hope skype goes away. Their whole closed system is distasteful, and the desktop client is plain annoying. Reply
  • erple2 - Monday, May 02, 2011 - link

    Where is that source code for Google chat again? Reply
  • usama_ah - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    Though I use Skype for international video calls with my family in India, most of my friends and colleagues use Google Chat, including Google Video chat. I think we use it far more than Skype because Skype is yet another service that we would have to start up and log into whereas most of our browsers are logged into our Gmail at all times, as well as Reader for me. It's far more convenient to hit up video over this than keeping separate contacts on a separate program.

    Also with the insane adoption of Android more and more people are accessible instantly via their Android phones, so yet another reason for me to stay on Gchat.

    We (my colleagues and I) are in medical school. We use most of Google's services (search, docs, mail, calendar, reader) to stay in sync with each other and up to date on our reading.

    I think you're right, Skype should have an app on Android, but I Skype with family and I'd prefer to do that at home. Having Gchat video is really exciting because it means I can immediately contact friends/colleagues on their computers or Android phones (assuming they have video) regardless of what platform they're on (mac, windows, linux) and regardless of whether they have the proper software installed (well, except for the driver to get video through Google Chat) immediately and show them what I need to show them.
    Reply
  • tayb - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    I don't know anyone who uses Google Talk. This should be tied into the messaging app and the contacts page, not Google Talk. This feature could have been sitting on my phone for months now and I would have never even known because I've never launched the Google Talk application. Reply
  • usama_ah - Thursday, April 28, 2011 - link

    You should check out Talk. I use it, sometimes more than the messaging app.

    Anyway this DOES show up in the messaging app. Currently I'm logged into Talk and when I open the messaging app and am at the index screen where I see all my messages from various contacts, I see my friend Ben's little face (the icon), a snippet of his last text as well as the number of text messages we exchanged in the thread (89) and FINALLY the little green icon signifying he is logged into Talk is sitting just above the date of our last text message exchange.

    Also if you are logged into Talk, if you go to "contacts" in your phone a little green icon is present to signify any contacts who have a Google account and are logged into Talk (whether on a computer or via Android) and you can immediately contact them right there. Just tap their icon/face and you get the option to contact them via phone, e-mail, talk, text message, and if you've synced it their Facebook and any 3rd party app that's plugged in.
    Reply

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