Apr 28 AT 5:48 PM Alberto Vildosola 47 Comments

Surprise, surprise: Google Talk gets video chat on the Nexus S (Updated)

A few hours ago Google tweeted they had a surprise for us. They’ve now revealed that surprise, and no they’re not buying Sprint. The big surprise is that Google Talk is getting video chat support. Hold on, there’s a catch though. You won’t be able to just download the app from the Market, instead you’ll get the new app with the 2.3.4 update Google is going to release in the coming weeks. Huh? Put simply, Nexus One and Nexus S users will get Android 2.3.4 in the coming weeks, and the update has a new version of Google Talk with video chat support.

This is of course irrelevant to the rest of the world which doesn’t own a Nexus phone. Why Google didn’t just release the Google Talk app through the Market? It beats me. It’s like they thought “What’s the best way to get this awesome feature to the least amount of people? Oh I know, release it with an OS update most people won’t get until next year.”

The app works just like you’d think it would. If a friend is available for video chat, you’ll see a camera icon next to it, tap it and away you go. The Android 2.3.4 update will also bring some bug fixes for Nexus One phones. But that’s not all, Google also tweeted that one more surprise is still to come. What could it be? Let me guess, they’ll release Google Music just for Nexus S owners who have dark hair, own two dogs, and are left-handed.

UPDATE: Google just tweeted the other surprise and it’s a — drum roll, please — Twitter Challenge. The winner gets a Nexus S. Yay.

Google Talk video chat Google Talk video chat

Source: Google Mobile Blog

Alberto is a college student living somewhere between Miami, Sarasota and the World Wide Web. Although a former iPhone owner, Alberto is now a proud Android enthusiast. You can follow Alberto on Twitter and Google+ for his thoughts unworthy of an article.

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  • http://nickedynick.blogspot.com Nickedynick

    It probably requires some of the Honeycomb features that are being backported to Gingerbread.

    Really, the biggest question should be “Why would I want video chat on a Nexus One when it doesn’t have a front facing camera?”…

    • Alberto Vildosola

      I have no idea why video chat on Google Talk would require Gingerbread or Honeycomb. Other third-party video calling apps have been available forever. It makes no sense to bundle it with an update and not release it to the Market.

    • http://Website Warden Chinbach

      nexus s


      yes it has front facing camera!!

  • http://Website sphericalpuma

    Actually they’ve said there is still another surprise in addition to 2.3.4

  • http://Website Simon Baumann

    First, this is not the surprised they had planned:

    googlenexus Google Nexus
    Android 2.3.4 OTA rolling out over the next few weeks! Has bug fixes for Nexus One, video chat for Nexus S. But a surprise is still to come!

    This is from the googlenexus twitter account.

    Second as to why not release it as a market app:
    Google uses GTalk for the main connection between Google and the phone, so they push E-Mails, 3rd-party notifications, the apps you download from the market and so on via the connection they have from GTalk. This means that it’s a very deeply integrated app that they probably couldn’t release as a stand-alone product.

    • Alberto Vildosola

      I mention the other surprise in the last paragraph.

      I had no idea Google uses Google Talk for all that stuff. Do you have a link you can share with us about this? If true, then that’s a good reason why they wouldn’t release it to the Market.

  • http://Website oscillik

    LOL at complaining that the Nexus phones are getting features before other phones. That is the whole point of owning a Nexus phone.

    • Alberto Vildosola

      I wasn’t complaining about Nexus phones getting updates sooner. My issue is with tying an app to an update most people won’t get any time soon.

      • FrightenedByPenguins

        I have to agree, this sounds like a complaint against Nexus owners getting features first. Personally I couldn’t care less about video calls (not just because I have a Nexus One honestly…) but 2.3.4 will be welcome.

        • Alberto Vildosola

          No, I seriously don’t have an issue with Nexus phones getting updates first. But I don’t like Google releasing apps exclusively just for those devices

          • http://Website oscillik

            it’s not exclusively for the Nexus devices, it just so happens that the Nexus devices get the latest Android phone OS updates. Android 2.3.4 will be available for other phones as and when the manufacturers / carriers update.

            as a journalist for Android and Me, this is something you should know already.

          • Alberto Vildosola

            Let me explain myself better.

            I know other phones will get 2.3.4 eventually, but that won’t happen for a few months. During all those months, this feature will be available exclusively for Nexus phones.

          • FrightenedByPenguins

            I’m sure you don’t have an issue with the Nexus line getting updates first, don’t get me wrong I’m not judging you or anything, just commenting on the tone of this particular article.

          • jivemaster

            I can understand what Alberto is saying.

            I am a proud Nexus S owner, but my wife isn’t (she owns an Optimus 2x). While this news is uber awesome, it means that while I’ll have this feature, my wife won’t – whom is the main person I would likely talk to over video chat.

            But its not the end of the world, as unlike other methods, Google Talk Video Chat runs on all computers and macs with a tiny browser plug-in. This alone makes the feature extremely useful and means I will be able to chat with my wife and friends whom are on their computers with video chat capability during most of the day/night – which is 99% of them.

  • http://Website Quasar

    I wonder if this means the N1 might get voice chat over Gtalk? That would be cool.

  • http://Website Richard Yarrell

    Finally something that we all can possibly benefit from. Hopefully this will knock skype out the box completely

  • http://Website Frank

    I want a Nexus S for VZW!!!!

  • http://Website Mark

    …and fragmentation lives on. Way to seclude people that root for Android but because we don’t buy your holy grail Nexus we shall not receive any sweet updates. Thanks, Google.

    • http://Website oscillik

      you will receive the updates in due course. also, don’t bemoan not having a Nexus phone – we’re essentially beta testers for you guys, having to put up with bugs that should be ironed out by the time the updates filter through to your manufacturer / carrier.

      • http://Website Mark

        Gee, I’m so sorry to hear that. It must be SO painful to be “beta testers”. Whew! At least we’ll “receive it in due course”. Just like Gingerbread…

        • http://Website oscillik

          yes it is so difficult being beta testers and paying £430 for the privilege. my Nexus S still has connectivity issues due to the 2.3.3 update, along with random reboots (that was supposed to have been fixed but wasn’t) and to top it off, my screen now looks like someone has urinated all over it due to the bullish approach that Google have taken with regards to the colour temperature on the screen.

          fact of the matter is – if you have bought an Android handset that has been made by a manufacturer who modifies Android to their own purposes (Samsung, Motorola, etc) then you either have to wait until they update the firmware or you will have to root the device so you can install your own firmware.

          if you didn’t know this beforehand, then it might be prudent to do your homework for your next smartphone purchase.

          • http://Website Mark

            I’m pretty sure my G2 can be filed in the same cabinet as devices like the G1, OG Moto Droid, Nexus One, Nexus S etc…meaning, GASP! It’s stock. No way…

          • http://nickelliott.us quick_nick

            I agree…its not uncommon for the nexus series to be at times (esp right after launch) completely unreliable as a basic communication device. It takes them a long while to fix all the problems and they don’t pay attention to us in the bug tracker. I have had both N1 and NS at launch day and both phones were absolute disappointments at first because they had serious problems. After 6 months or longer the problems started to get fixed and new features added. These features also didn’t work at first. its the price paid for being on the dev phone. you want a stable reliable phone stay away from the nexus line but you wont get the newest products from google first.

    • jivemaster

      Failure to update your handset rests solely with the lazy manufacturer of your device. Again, device manufacturers make no money from Android OS – only the sale of devices. So keeping updates from you is in their best interests to give an incentive to new customers to buy their more up-to-date phones, and to make existing customers question whether they should upgrade or not.

      Google cannot be held responsible for developers’ failure in updating their handsets. Fragmentation is the fault of Android hardware partners – not Google (unless they hold the source code from them).

      If you want to be part of the latest and greatest software, your only option is to get a Nexus device. While they may not be feature phones with the latest hardware, they do get 100% of the attention for new software features. Being Google’s device, it’s only fair.

  • http://Website Lucas Zwirtes

    The real question is: how much months “few weeks” means to Google? LOL!

  • http://Website Fabrizio

    Love the sarcasm, seriously
    This limited release is horrible.
    Awesome its finally available, but really?just nexus s?
    Heres hoping xda is on this thing quick

    • http://Website oscillik

      you really need to re-read the article. or better yet, read Google’s announcement.

      this update isn’t only for the Nexus S


    Boy I amm so glad i stuck with the Nexus series of phones.. This just solidifies my decision to pass on the sensation and wait for a 3rd Nexus. Thank you google

  • http://Website Joe

    This obviously was a way for google to get people to buy the nexus s.

    Also, will google ever release honeycomb to the public?

    • http://Website Willard Potter

      I’m pretty sure it’s already been said that the Honeycomb source will not be released to the public as they’ve deemed it “unfinished” thus far. Being an owner of a tablet with pretty solid hardware(Viewsonic G-Tablet), i’m just as upset about it as many others, but in the same fashion as this video chat update being released for only Nexus devices so far, i’d rather wait till things are complete and stable before taking the dive.

      While I always like to feel I have the latest and greatest, it’s far too often that the masses go from “We want it! We want it!” before it’s officially released to all, and then turn to “Hey! everything is force closing left and right” when they get it too early.

      In other words… we should have patience. They’re probably doing this to test the waters. It’s really not that big a deal with there are quite a few cross platform alternatives.

      • BiGMERF

        I also own a tablet, xoom. I can say now that gtalk with video works fine for me and never force closes. I expect the same from my nexus s when the update hits

  • http://nickelliott.us quick_nick

    The other surprise will deal google music. this is my opinion of course but heres how i got there. First we have known for awhile that google has all the infrastructure in place for an online locker or streaming service from users home computers. 2) The android beta app already exists with all but the google account section disabled and some google employees are currently using the service. 3) Its been seeing alot of activity over the last month or so.

    I think it will be release either at IO or just before. Google has been getting a lot of neg press over its music promise and they probably would like to enter the event with people (devs and press alike) already stoked instead of skeptical when they talk about other upcoming projects.

  • http://Website pechano

    Since a lot of people dont have front facing cameras yet, the video chat part of this update is for the most part irrelevant. The fact that you get voice chat using google talk is huge though.

    Hopefully this will be included ASAP in the latest Cyanogen.

  • http://Website Paul Atreides

    Nice treat for Nexus users. It’s no reason for people to get jealous, obviously Google had this waiting in the wing. This is being introduced now to give the Nexus S 4G some more steam when it’s released in a week or so. It’s not the only video chat out, and has yet to be proven as the best. Hopefully it is, my EVO should be getting Gingerbread soon and I think this will definitely be included.

  • yungsir2


  • http://sentroe.com John J

    Gtalk video dont work on Tmobile 3G network.. only works under wifi..

    Make missing Feature.

    no option to switch to back camera
    no easy option to only have voice when other party have a web came
    – you have to dig through menu to do a voice chat.. (Menu-More-Voice Chat)
    Must need.. support to work on all 3G network. (tmobile promoting Qik..on 3G..whats with that.. Google.. do something!)
    Finally Need support for Google Voice number.. My browser ring when i receive a call but not on the phone.

  • http://sentroe.com John J

    Gtalk video dont work on Tmobile 3G network only works under wifi

    Need missing Features

    no option to switch to back camera
    no easy option to only have voice when other party have a web cam
    – you have to dig through menu to do a voice chat.. (Menu-More-Voice Chat)
    Must need.. support to work on all 3G network. (tmobile promoting Qik..on 3G..whats with that.. Google.. do something!)
    Finally Need support for Google Voice number.. My browser ring when i receive a call but not on the phone.

  • http://youtube.com/patsandsoxfan5 Alex Carlson

    Will this update help me with a problem I’ve been having with my nexus s? Every time I am connected to Wifi, no matter how strong the connection is, the phone stays connected for about 30 seconds, then disconnects for about 10, then starts this cycle over again. It says its connected but the wifi icon turns from green to white, and I have no connection. Is anyone else having this problem? It has happened on both Nexus S’s that I have owned

  • http://Website Mocha K

    This update made my FFC not work when i use Tango.

  • http://Website Jose Cuervo

    I’m using 2.3.4 and GTalk (CM7 nightlies 60+) on the myTouch 4G and it’s been nice. I don’t think there is an option to switch to the back camera yet. I’m sure it will be in an update.

    “Better late than never.” – Alexander Graham Bell

  • http://sedra amanj1984


  • http://Website johnlian

    how to install google video chat in sony ericsson arc 2.3.3 …and what we need to install google video chat.

  • ijaz


  • thwinlinhtet

    I like this application.so I am very happy.

  • somyksn

    hello i don’t downloading

  • narshing thorat