Google announced today that it will integrate video calling capabilities directly into Android.
“We’re making video calling an integrated part of your phone,” Google product manager Jan Jedrzejowicz writes. “You can now start a video call directly from where you call or text message your friends, through your Phone, Contacts, and Android Messages apps. Later this year, we’ll also add the ability to upgrade an ongoing voice call to video with just a tap.”
So that is pretty exciting. It’s also a nice turnaround from Google’s historically messed up communications strategy. For example, Google announced two messaging apps, Allo and Duo at Google I/O in mid-2016, with the latter aimed at video calls. But both compete, in some ways, with another Google app, Hangouts.
Anyway, integrated video calling is being rolled out first to first-generation Pixel handsets and Android One and Nexus devices, Google says. And it will, of course, be available on the Pixel 2 when those handsets ship in November. Google says that it is working with its carrier and hardware partners to bring this experience to more devices over time as well.