Video Chat for Android Debuts, and An Android Lawsuit Is Reportedly Filed
Heading into the weekend, Android is much in the news. If you've been waiting for video chat capabilities on your Android phone, the wait is over. In a post on the Google Mobile blog, Google has announced video chat functionality for Android, and you can watch a video showing how it works. Android phone users can chat via video with other phone or Android tablet owners. Meanwhile, Google is reportedly being sued over Android's location tracking features, immediately in the wake of a similar suit targeting Apple.
According to the Google Mobile blog, delivering the news about video chat features:
"You can now video or voice chat with your friends, family and colleagues right from your Android phone, whether they’re on their compatible Android tablet or phone, or using Gmail with Google Talk on their computer. You can make calls over a 3G or 4G data network (if your carrier supports it) or over Wi-Fi."
GigaOM's Kevin Tofel has tried the new features and writes:
"Just like the video calling feature in the desktop version of Google Talk, a camera icon appears next to online contacts who can video chat. Tap the camera, and the video call begins. The only downside I can think of is that folks with multiple Google Talk accounts will be frustrated, as Android devices support only a single account for Google Talk."
In other Android news, The Detroit News is reporting that two women are suing Google in a $50 million class action lawsuit:
"The lawsuit, filed late Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, comes a week after Google acknowledged that phones running its Android software store some location data directly on phones for a short time from users who have chosen to use GPS services. Google said that was done "to provide a better mobile experience on Android devices." It also stressed that any location sharing is done with the user's permission."
In a similar suite, Apple has denied that iPhones keep a record of a user's whereabouts for up to a year, and implied that the features in question are merely related to location-specific convenience features. The suits against Apple and Google may have broad implications for how location-specific features are permitted to work in smartphones. Google hasn't said a whole lot yet about this issue, but it's likely to a high-profile issue for the whole Android ecosystem. OStatic will stay tuned to this debate.