Brace yourself for a new round of 3G service bill-shock horror stories: Google has announced Android support for video chat and voice chat using Google Talk. The new capability means Android phone users can voice or video chat with other Android phone users, or with people using Google Talk on their PCs. Chats are supported over …
Speaking of Android
Where's your "Android app 'o the week"?
So what is the advantage this has over the video calls that decent 3G phones have supported for ages?
OTT vs Cellular Network
The difference is that this is an over the top service providing a reasonable user experience for what was supposed to be possible only via the cellular network - initially circuit switched, later IMS supported packet switched.
As far as the bill shock - most video calls with a good VBR motion compensated codec are not that bandwidth intensive. There is very little movement so the codec can compress the hell out of the call. It may end up costing less than a cellular video call.
The shock here is different - video calling was one of the things for which the people behind the 3GPP architecture have always claimed that it will not work without a resource control framework. It is one of the business reqs which led to IMS, PCRF and the other Gothic arch-butanes supporting the 3GPP Evolved Packet Core. If it works just fine over the top things are bound to become interesting...
Most importantly it breaks the cellular monopoly on video calling. An OTT call can start on a cell phone and end up on a PC and vice versa.
1. This is IP based, so it won't necessarily cost anything to use
2. Presumably is based on either SIP or XMPP, so it should interoperate with non-mobile devices
3. Anyone with a browser can video-chat with you through the Gmail site.
You can video chat to all the other people currently using video chat at their pc, not just another 3g phone. It was stated in the article.
We'll have to see whether there are any technical advantages. Video calls on the network might, in theory, benefit from network management functions and priority. OTOH they are also likely to be limited by such technology. Video over IP might look better but have higher latency and higher frame drops as the network will prioritise voice and video packets over data on the local cell. Have to wait and see how they, er, face up to each other.
The main advantage will be price and ease of use. Video calls cost around € 0.80 a minute and are not guaranteed to work across networks. With prices like that I've never been tempted to try even try it. Assuming the networks don't block it Google Talk's video service will incur only data charges which are likely to be bundled. In fact, supporting a service like this could be a useful pimp for 4G services (Verizon) which don't differentiate between packet types and let networks manage their mixed data traffic more efficiently. Tight integration with the phone would allow them to bill for service as the phone could say - I'd like to make a video call - and assuming this did provide reasonable QoS I can imagine people who would want to use the service prepared to pay a small premium for it.
No charge/bundle usage?
I just wish Apple would change FaceTime to support 3G/4G as my 3G connection at home is far faster than my crappy 400kbps "broadband" connection. This is London, by the way...
Been waiting for this feature for ages.
"Google’s announcement catches up with Apple’s launch of FaceTime for the iPhone last year."
"Google’s announcement catches up with Nokia’s launch of Video Calling for the 6630 in 2004."
I'm pretty sure back in Aus I was using video calling on an LG phone (among others) on the Three network in Aus in 2004, or maybe even 2003.... I love how history keeps getting re-written
or Maemo5 on N900 launched with Google Video Chat support built-in, as well as Skype's, in Oct. 2009.
No bill shock here...
in the US unless someone has the ever shitty AT&T, they got rid of their unlimited plan quite a while back and are now the only national carrier without an unlimited plan of any type.. Nexus S is usually on T-Mobile, they are unlimited (reportedly throttle at 1GB but no overage charges). Sprint is truly unlimited. Verizon is unlimited, although they "reserve the right" to throttle at 5GB (and reportedly, in actuality start throttling at 9GB, if the user is on a busy cell site.) (None of the 4 have unlimited tethering/aircard plans though, except Sprint which allows unlimited aircard data on 4G (Wimax) while the 3G is still subject to cash overages.)
Anyway, sounds cool. Although, my camera is on the back and the screen on the front.. so...
Useless this side of the pond then ...
So by using Google Talk it means it will only work in the US (at present and has been at present for a while) and you'll only be able to use it with contacts in your google based contacts list, not just any contact in your phone book.
Still it will probably use google's android voice functions to search, dial, etc (after all why would yo want to use the screen/keyboard ...) which means most user will give up in frustration after a short time.
Google Talk works perfectly in Britain, and you seem to have this mixed up with the currently only US available Google Voice?
Doh I fail
You're right I've got the two mixed up.
Google Talk/Google Voice
@Dapprman, you seem to be (understandably) confused between Google Talk and Google Voice. It's Google Voice that is US only, it's the VoIP service with call out to US phone lines. Google Talk is the IM functionality bundled into GMail, it has video calling capabilities and is available to all GMail users. There's a Google Talk app for Android already, but only for the text chat aspect.
Personally I'm looking forward to this, I've been wanting a video calling solution to enable connections between Android and a cross platform desktop client and had been surprised to discover that there wasn't anything that quite fit the bill already. Overdue but welcome.
Voice and Talk!
I really wish Google would merge these two and open them up around the world
1/ reduces the number of icons/apps I need
2/ give telcos around the world a swift kick up the bum
(BTW Sprint in the US have now switched to using GV as their backend... wonder how far this relationship will go....)
I may be wrong ...
... But I seem to recall that the way that US charge for terminating/connecting calls is wildly different to overseas telcos, so the business model for Google Voice in other countries isn't viable.