May 02 AT 2:15 PM Russell Holly 18 Comments

Speculation – There’s a good reason Google Video wasn’t released to Market

Late last week, Google dropped quite a surprise on us. Android 2.3.4 has begun its roll-out to Google’s Nexus S phone, and with it comes a feature that Android users have been clamoring for since before its release on Android 3.0; native video chatting in Google’s Talk app. Right after the announcement, Android 2.3.4 was released to AOSP and the modders and hackers answered the question that had been on the minds of many. Why hadn’t Google just released the app to the Market so everyone could have it? Well now you can grab it for yourself on XDA if you’ve just gotta have it and don’t have a Nexus S.

It seems to me, however, that Google had to have a reason for waiting for limiting Google Talk to Android 2.3.4 devices. After all, it’s not like this is the norm. When any other Google app is updated, it’s available in the Market. In the past, Google has only limited features to a specific version of the OS when there were OS level optimizations to ensure that the features would work correctly. Since this is not specifically mobile-on-mobile chatting, and in fact allows your phone to communicate with Android 3.0 devices as well as any computer running Google Talk with Video, it makes sense that things like battery optimization, data usage, and processor optimization (which are all things this app will need to run smoothly) would not be included in the app itself.

It’s likely that with the most powerful phones on the market, the difference will be negligible to some. Frankly, if video chat wasn’t smoother on, say, a G2X than it was on the Nexus S, I would be upset. For the best performance, I would advise users to either wait for their respective device to get the 2.3.4 update, or grab CyanogenMod once it’s functional. Grabbing just the app and installing it on your phone, however, seems to me like you would be inviting in a subpar experience.

*I would like to point out that these opinions are completely speculative and are the result of conversations had with developers. I am not a developer, and I do not have any evidence to support this opinion. If you have evidence either to support or to the contrary, please feel free to share it!

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  • http://Website UniqueNate

    I simply agree. I mean not everything can just be updated and call it a day. Some things play nice with others and some don’t. More of a reason a Nexus device needs to be on every carrier yearly.

  • http://t3ck.com/ Steven

    And now that Google has released all this good stuff they’re under attack… Lawsuits for the GPS tracking are coming more and more every week. I love android and have no problem with anything Google does. After all, Google talk is really cool stuff. Hopefully Google and Apple can make a reasonable speech on the 10th. They NEED to cover themselves for the future.

    • http://Website Daniel

      WTH GPS tracking lawsuits!? The system explicitly asks you for permission to share this info with Google the first time it’s used! Reading a single sentence before confirming should save you from unexpected tracking (at least from the OS services)…

      • http://Website Daniel

        To be clear, by “you” I mean “the user”, not specifically Steven, who I’m sure isn’t involved in this silliness…

      • http://Website Mista2x

        People don’t read, that’s why the HUMANCENTiPAD didn’t succeed. ;-)

  • http://Website Daniel

    The more probable reason is a real technical limitation: this update relies on an updated libtalk_jni.so, a library that is kept outside of the .apk, so they can’t update it through the Market.

    • http://www.strazzere.com/blog strazz

      Don’t be silly, jni libraries can always be included with an APK — it’s just the JNI code. This could easily be done through the market, though I’m sure they have good reason why they don’t want too.

      • http://Website Lucas

        I may be wrong, since I don’t know too much about the Android kernel, but I think the JNI may be useless (or work defectively) if the OS don’t expose the right API. Right?

  • http://Website muii

    My guess… The reason is that there is no front camera on most devices that are below 2.3.3, and Google wants the video experience to use the front cam, thing possible with the lattest phones released ! As simple as that !

    • AME

      Yeah, but Google can’t require all 2.3.4+ phones to have a front facing camera.

      They’ve got to have a better reason than wanting us to use our FFC.

  • http://Website Derek

    Sooo?? Whats the reason? Your article is vague at best and never does answer the question…what is the reason they didnt release it through the market?

    • iDavey

      “In the past, Google has only limited features to a specific version of the OS when there were OS level optimizations to ensure that the features would work correctly. Since this is not specifically mobile-on-mobile chatting, and in fact allows your phone to communicate with Android 3.0 devices as well as any computer running Google Talk with Video, it makes sense that things like battery optimization, data usage, and processor optimization (which are all things this app will need to run smoothly) would not be included in the app itself.”

  • http://Website JayMonster

    Headline and graphics are very misleading. You insinuate there is something broken, when in fact you have a guess based purely on speculation.

    • http://Website Jb

      The first word in the title is SPECULATION dumbass lol.

  • http://Website Gary Schilling

    Although I agree, there is likely much more to the story than this. I imagine they aren’t sure about the stability and quality, and they might want to give the nexus series an exclusive app.

    Either way, it’ll get launched on most phones soon enough.

  • http://Website johnny hashbrowns

    this is why the iphone is better. Like the commercial said, “if you dont have an iphone.. well, you dont have an iphone”. i couldnt have said it better myself

    • http://Website Sapphire3g

      Thank you, captain obvious. I bought a G2X because it is a G2X. Go find an iBlog to comment on.

  • AME

    The Nexus phones are the beta testers… has it been determined that this release is NOT a beta release?