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Google Phone app could be getting a FaceTime-like feature

Switching from a voice call to a video call will be getting much easier for Pixel phones.
By

Published onMarch 8, 2024

The Google Phone Dialer icon on a Pixel phone.
TL;DR
  • Google is testing a new feature in the Phone app that lets you seamlessly switch from a regular phone call to a Google Meet video call with just a tap.
  •  This feature is currently in beta testing and only showing up for a limited number of users on Pixel phones.

Google’s video conferencing platform, Google Meet, might be making a play to become a bigger part of our daily mobile communication. While it started primarily as a business-focused tool, it’s become a popular option for 1-on-1 video calls as well. Now, it appears Google is testing a new feature that could further increase its use — a way to easily switch from a regular phone call to a video call with just a tap.

iPhone users have long enjoyed easy video calling through Apple’s FaceTime feature built directly into the iPhone dialer. Now Android users could have a similar experience with this integration of video calling into the phone app.

The new feature comes in the form of a simple “Video call” chip that has recently started appearing during regular phone calls for some Google Phone app users. Tapping this chip initiates a Google Meet video call with the person you’re talking to, ringing their phone while the voice call remains active.

If the person you’re calling doesn’t have the Google Meet app installed, tapping the chip will take you to a screen prompting you to invite them to use Google Meet for video chatting.

This new feature is currently in beta testing, only appearing for a limited number of users on Pixel phones (our device is running 125.0.613053162-publicbeta-pixel2023). It’s not yet widely rolled out, but the fact that it’s being tested suggests that Google might be planning to make it a permanent feature of the Google Phone app. Hopefully, we’ll see a wider adoption on Android phones soon after.

While this new feature offers a solid alternative for video calling through third-party apps like WhatsApp, it remains to be seen whether it will be enough to sway users from their established habits.

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