Google Joins Video Chat Party

written by Harry - Leave a reply

5/4/2011 – The technology and search engine giant, Google, has recently launched it’s own video chat phone application, Google Talk, to rival Skype and Apple’s FaceTime in the next-generation coms marketspace.

While Google Talk as a program has been available via Gmail accounts and as a desktop platform for a number of years, the recent emergence of the Android OS in the smartphone market has encouraged the California-based company to launch it as a phone app.  And unlike Apple’s FaceTime service, Google Talk works over 3G connections as well as WiFi networks (FaceTime only works via WiFi at present).

The Google Mobile Blog states that the new application will be deployed on the Google Nexus S smartphone “over the next few weeks” as part of the Android 2.3.4 upgrade.  Other popular Android models will also get the application but at an as-yet unspecified date.

Unlike FaceTime, and third party applications like Skype and Fring, Google Voice allows users to integrate their Gmail account into the program and gives them instant access to their entire contact list.  Users can seamlessly enjoy video chat conversations with friends, family or colleagues from their phone without having to import anything or make configuration changes. If people you know have Gmail and an Android phone too, you can start communicating with them immediately.

Google’s motivation to get involved in the mobile video market is a direct response to the continued growth in the medium over the past few years.  A recent report from GigaOM Pro’s Alfred Poor and Michael Wolf estimates that by 2015 video chat will grow from just under 600 million video calls yearly to over 30 billion.  They point to the continued development of smartphones and society’s demand for more integrated communications as reason behind the growth.

For mainstream ISPs, video chat’s growth represents a source of concern.  Video chat takes up significantly more bandwidth than simple Voice over-IP applications and operators are worried about the effects heavy adoption will have on their network and consumer satisfaction.  Many service providers already employ tiered data caps and network management tactics that affect user experiences.  Maybe it’s time for a rethink?

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