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Google's upcoming cross-device call transfer feature could be focused on one app (APK teardown)

Google Meet could be the only supported call transfer-enabled app on Android at launch.
By

Published onMarch 8, 2024

Google Pixel 7 Pro showing an ongoing Google Meet call with screen sharing turned on
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • New code evidence found in the latest Google Play Services update further explains how the new video call transfer feature could work across Android devices.
  • The feature will begin by allowing the transfer of Google Meet video calls between Android devices in the same device group.
  • Google could also add support for other video-calling apps in the future.

We’ve been hearing about new cross-device features Google is readying for a while now. We’ve now found more evidence suggesting how the new “Call Transfer” cross-device feature could function across linked Android devices.

An APK teardown helps predict features that may arrive on a service in the future based on work-in-progress code. However, it is possible that such predicted features may not make it to a public release.

For context, tipster Assemble Debug previously found references to a “Call Cast” feature in Google Play services v24.06.12. At the time, it was believed that the feature would allow users to transfer video calls across devices.

In our teardown of Google Play Services v24-08-12, we’ve found more code evidence clarifying exactly how the feature could work. Interestingly, the strings we found in the latest version of Google Play Services refer to the feature as “Call Transfer.” The actual name, when Google releases it, might be entirely different.

Anyhow, the code we discovered shows that the ability to transfer video calls from one device to another within the same device group will first be supported by the Google Meet app.

Code
<string name="enrollment_feature_description_call_transfer">Switch between
devices on video calls in apps like Google Meet</string>
<string name="enrollment_feature_explanation_call_transfer">See video calls
across your devices and switch between them;/string>

As you can see, the code suggests users will be able to transfer Google Meet video calls from one device to another to begin with. Since it mentions “apps like Google Meet,” we can presume that support could also be extended to other video-calling apps in the future.

Interestingly, Google is now rolling out a new video call button in the Google Phone app. When pressed, it invites the person you’re talking to for a Google Meet call. Google may have done this in preparation for the upcoming cross-device Call Transfer feature.

The Phone by Google app is starting to show a new “video call” chip during phone calls for some users. Tapping this chip opens a page that lets you quickly invite the person you’re calling to a Google Meet call.
My tipster has a Pixel 5a and is running a beta version of the… pic.twitter.com/rjvyA2C3lk
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) March 7, 2024

Meanwhile, “Call Cast” is also mentioned in the code strings of the new Google Play Services update. However, it is tagged under a separate “Call Switching” category. Unlike the code above, it does not specify video calls.

Code
string name="call_switching_feature_footer">Call cast only works with certain apps;/string>
<string name="call_switching_feature_intro">Move calls between this device and other 
nearby devices signed in to your Google Account;/string>

It’s possible Call Cast is a separate feature for switching devices during audio calls, but we can’t tell for sure right now.

What’s almost certain from today’s discovery is that Android users should soon be able to transfer Google Meet video calls to their grouped devices that have cross-device services enabled. As per the code, “Devices with the same Google Account can be added to a device group and use cross-device services together.”

It’s still unclear when Google plans to release this and other rumored cross-device features, but they seem to be moving closer to launch.

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