Google is reported to be working on a new built-in chat functionality that will enabled video chatting over the Android platform. This new feature is expected to be incorporated in the upcoming Gingerbread version of Android – likely to be called Android 3.0.
Of course, this is no confirmation but a piece of rumor gathered from sources. According to those who claim to be in the know, Google has built this new chat functionality using the same protocols that power a similar video chatting functionality on GTalk; Google’s desktop chatting client. While it is not clear, it can be then assumed that the new video chatting feature will integrate the experience of Gtalk and the Android chat application so that users may communicate with friends irrespective of whether they are online from a desktop or from an Android phone.
What follows next is pretty logical. Google could bring in the voice calling functionality that was introduced to users of Gmail chat not so long ago to the Android platform. That could be pretty revolutionary for VoIP calling.
If your phone is on Android 2.2, you can check out if you have this issue at your end. Several Android handset owners seem to be facing an issue with their handsets whereby they do not seem to be receiving notifications for new messages sent to them by their friends on GTalk when they are signed in from their Android phone. This is despite being shown online on the chat lists. This however seems to be only part of the problem. Users on the Google Support forum have been complaining that users who are signed in on both the desktop and mobile phone see a more erratic behavior where the user’s activity from the mobile phone seems to go unnoticed. A user writes,
“If I’m logged in both Desktop and Phone, the behaviour is erratic. Usually when someone messages me I get the message on my Desktop. If I answer from my Desktop everything is fine, but it doesn’t show on my Phone. If I start answering on my Phone the other person will get my messages, but I don’t get any in either platform. Messages still show in the Gmail log of the chat. If I answer from the Desktop the conversation starts to flow again on this platform, while the Phone will still only show the messages I send from it and none of the other person’s messages or my own messages sent from Desktop like it used to do it before.”
Google has acknowledged the issue and is presently learned to be reproducing the bug at their end to find out the root cause. Expect a fix for the same in the next couple of days.
Sometime back, there were reports that Google was working on integrating their Google Voice VoIP functionality with Gmail in order to bring a voice calling functionality to their email client. Now there are more indications to suggest that this could in fact be real.
A fresh report on CNET notes from sources that Google has been testing a new feature that will bring a phone calling option to the GTalk interface that is available on Gmail. According to screenshots produced on the report, the service being tested will allow Americans to make free phone calls to USA and Canada using the service while international rates shall be subsidized.
The functionality itself is not exactly new and is already available on Google Voice. However, this is the first time that Google has been attempting to integrate three of their popular platforms – Gmail, GTalk and Google Voice into a single platform.
Google Voice is still not available outside the United States. So it is pretty obvious that this service, even if it becomes available, will require users to tie their Gmail service to a Google Voice account before the feature can be made available.
Google is likely to make an announcement regarding “social services” in a few hours. The blogosphere is already abuzz with rumors about Gmail, by letting people share links and messages can be a Twitter killer.
If the rumors doing the rounds are to be believed, it would simply mean assorting all the GTalk status messages from users and displaying it the way Twitter displays tweets. While this can be something powerful, it is definitely something that Google would buzz about before making a launch.
So, what could be expected in today’s launch? Our assumption is that it could be much more. The Gmail window serves an important function of delivering the latest emails; something that is too important to many users to be tinkered around with status messages. What we see is an aggregation of the users’ social network activities – including Facebook, Twitter, Orkut as well as messages from Gmail on to one platform. The simplest place to begin would be iGoogle which is already the users’ customized homepage which could now be the one-stop to aggregate all of the users activities.
As should be obvious, it is entirely speculation and our own take on what could be coming. What are your views on this?