Google Duo’s video chat app gets a SharePlay-inspired feature called “live sharing” – TechCrunch

Google is introducing its own version of Apple’s SharePlay functionality for FaceTime with today’s launch of a new “live share” feature for users of its Google Duo video calling service. In Google’s case, however, the interactive co-viewing experience isn’t as robust or as widely available as Apple’s. It only works with a handful of Google and Samsung apps, to begin with. And, at launch, it’s a Samsung exclusive.

The changes have been announcement as part of Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event, where the smartphone maker showcased its new Galaxy S22 series and Galaxy Tab S8 series devices. In that regard, Google also shared a handful of updates to its own apps, like Duo, as well as YouTube and others.

Google Duo’s Live Sharing feature stood out as one of the most notable changes as it addresses a similar use case to SharePlay, even if it sounds like a watered down variant. Like SharePlay, Duo’s Live Sharing also ties in with the pandemic-induced trend of spending more time interacting with friends, family and co-workers remotely via video calls. Today, people want to be able to do more than just talk on video chats. They also want to be able to watch content together, interact with the same apps, and share their screens. Duo meets these needs to some extent, but without the extensive third-party app integration ecosystem offered by SharePlay.

Picture: Screenshot / Google Duo

With the Duo update, users will be able to brainstorm new ideas using Google’s Jamboard digital whiteboard, share photos with Gallery, share notes with Samsung Notes, search for locations in Google Maps, and watch videos together on YouTube, Google says.

In comparison, Apple’s SharePlay worked with many more apps and services, including many top streaming services like Disney+, NBA, TikTok, Twitch, Paramount+ and Showtime, as well as Apple’s own apps. like Apple TV+, Apple Music and Apple Fitness. . Unfortunately, Google declined to say whether it intends to make Duo a more feature-rich service over time when asked. There was also no news of a developer API platform.

“There are no current plans that we can share at this time beyond what was initially shared,” a spokesperson told us, when asked for more details.

But the company noted that it won’t be a long-term Samsung exclusive. The feature is launching first on the latest Samsung devices, including the Galaxy S22 and Tab S8. It will soon be rolling out to other Samsung devices and Pixel devices, followed by other Android devices later in 2022.

In addition to Duo Live Sharing, another update offers YouTube users the ability to preview YouTube videos in Messages to better decide whether to watch the video now or later. Users can also tap to play the video without leaving the chat. This feature will be available on all Android phones except Android (Go edition) devices.

Additionally, the new Galaxy S22 and Galaxy Tab S8 series devices will no longer require users to download a separate app for Voice Access, as it will be integrated. And the devices will support Google’s new custom design language, Material You, the company said.

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