A few months back, Google Chat for Android added the ability to call people one person at a time – no group calling necessary. This was one of the most basic features that Google Hangouts, the app’s predecessor, had had since launch, and yet, Chat brought it to the table much later. Now, the ability to call individuals 1:1 with voice and video is being added into Chat via Gmail on Android and the web.
Google hopes to balance out the ability for individuals who have returned to the physical workplace and those who remain in a work from home capacity to connect with one another without missing a beat. Collaborating through voice, video, and chat should be disjointed across each method that’s utilized while accessing Google Chat, so feature parity was essential. I’d argue it’s been essential the entire time, but here we are, this late in the game, and finally getting the features that should have existed since launch. I know I’m pretty vocal about this, but I truly believe that Google should try harder for this kind of parity when launching products.
That’s neither here nor there at this time, but let’s just move on before I get irked even further. If you’d like to access the new voice and video buttons in Gmail on the web and on Android, you’ll find them in at the top-right of your individual chats with your colleagues. When a call is ongoing and you return to your conversation list or the chat portion of an individual chat, you’ll see a blue bar at the top of the app that shows the call recipient and the duration of the discussion.
You can actually return to the call by tapping this blue banner as well, just as you’d expect. Making a call through the Google Chat app will redirect you to Gmail now, according to Google. You can expect to see across both Rapid Release and Scheduled Release domains alike over the next two weeks. This goes for all Google Workspace tiers, as well as those with G Suite Basic and Business accounts. Luckily, anyone with a standard, free Google Account will also receive this update, making for yet another feature that’s rolling out to business and personal accounts simultaneously!