Google Talk for Android is getting video support, something that will help Android compete better against the iPhone. However this update will only be available for smartphones with a new version of Google’s operating system.
After the over-the-air update, users will see either video chat or voice call icons appear next to contacts in their Google Talk friends list and merely need to click this button to visually connect (or, if that friend’s device doesn’t support video, make a voice call).
A couple of unique figures in Google Talk’s video chat are the ability to pause video while audio continues running in the background, allowing a user to keep the conversation going while looking at another app or the phone’s home screen. Also, any typed messages sent by the other party in the video chat will appear in the video window, allowing users to read their friend’s messages without interrupting the video stream.
Video chatting in Google Talk will initially be available for the Samsung Nexus S as part of an upgrade to Android OS 2.3.4, and will be available to all Nexus S users within the next few weeks. The feature will eventually be available to all Android OS 2.3+ devices with front-facing cameras, but Google did not mention a timeframe for this wider release.