Google is rolling out a new feature, enabled by its Duo app, that makes video calling a more central feature of the phone.
Google is rolling out a new Duo integration for its own Pixel, Pixel 2, Android One, and Nexus phones to allow users to place a video call directly from the Android Phone, Contacts, and Messages apps. Later this year is will also allow users to tap a button to switch to a video call during a current voice call.
The company wants to make video calling from Android device "an integrated part of your phone", which is getting a helping hand from its Duo app.
As Android Police reported recently, a preview of Google's Phone app v13, which is now out, brought the new Duo video call integration to the three communications app.
Google has also posted a new support note for making video calls with the latest versions of the Android Phone, Contacts and Messages apps.
To make video calls from these apps, the phone manufacturer needs to enable video calling. If they have, users can make video calls from these apps to their contacts who also use Google Duo. In the phone app, a new option is available in call history and search. In Contacts, a video option is available next to a contact's name, while in Messages it appears in a conversation.
For now, it appears only Google's devices support the feature, but Google says it is working with carrier partners and Android OEMs to bring the integrated video experience to more devices in future.
How the video call is handled also differs depending on the network the caller and receiver are on. If both participants are on a carrier that supports ViLTE, the video extension of VoLTE, the call will be routed through the carrier's service. In other cases, including if only one person is on ViLTE, Google Duo is used to connect the video call to other Google Duo users.