Google video chat heads to Android

Google has announced that it will enable video chat through Google Talk for Android handsets in the next few weeks.

Calls can be made over WiFi, 3G or 4G networks, depending on carrier. Users can make calls by tapping the video or voice chat icon next to contacts on their list. Text chats will appear over the video chat, so that you don’t have to leave the call to read them.

Google said that video will also pause automatically to let users go to their home screens or other apps, though the voice call will continue.

By adding video chat capability to Android handsets, Google competes with third-party applications such as fring and Skype, which both have Android apps. On Wednesday, fring introduced free group video calling for Android devices and the iPhone.

The Nexus S will be the first phone to get video chat capability through Google Talk, as part of the Android 2.3.4 update, the company said.

Related stories:

Skype fixes Android security problem, adds 3G calling

Skype (sort of) available for non-Verizon Android phones

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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