With the launch of a new “live sharing” option for customers of its Google Duo video conferencing service today, Google is bringing its own take on Apple’s SharePlay function for FaceTime. The interactive, co-viewing experience provided by Google, on the other hand, is not nearly as robust or as widely available as Apple’s. For first, it only works with a few Google and Samsung apps. It’s also a Samsung exclusive at the moment. The modifications were announced at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event, where the company unveiled its new Galaxy S22 and Galaxy Tab S8 series smartphones and tablets. In addition, Google released a number of improvements to its own apps, including Duo, YouTube, and others.
One of the more significant changes is Google Duo’s live sharing capability, which tackles a similar use case to SharePlay, even if it feels like a watered-down variation. Duos live sharing, like SharePlay’s, fits into the pandemic-induced trend of spending more time interacting with friends, family, and coworkers over video conversations. People nowadays want to be able to do more with video chats than just talk. They also want to be able to consume material and interact with the same apps together, as well as share their screens. Duo satisfies these demands to some extent, but it lacks SharePlay’s extensive ecosystem of third-party app integration.
Users will be able to utilize Google’s digital whiteboard Jamboard to brainstorm new ideas, exchange photographs with Gallery, take notes with Samsung Notes, search for places in Google Maps, and watch YouTube videos together with the Duo upgrade, according to Google. Apple’s SharePlay, on the other hand, worked with a lot more apps and services right out of the gate, including a lot of popular 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. When asked if it has any plans to make Duo a more feature-rich service over time, Google declined to comment. There was also no mention of a developer API platform.
When we asked for more information, a spokesman said, “There are no current plans we can disclose at this time beyond what was first shared.” However, Samsung has stated that it will not be a Samsung exclusive in the long run. The capability will be available first on Samsung’s newest devices, such as the Galaxy S22 and Tab S8. It will soon be available on more Samsung and Pixel devices, with other Android devices following later in 2022.
In addition to Duo’s live sharing, a new upgrade allows YouTube users to see a preview of YouTube videos in Messages, allowing them to select whether to watch the video right away or later. Users can also use their fingers to play the video without leaving the chat. With the exception of Android (Go edition) smartphones, this capability will be available on all Android phones. Voice Access will also be built-in on the new Galaxy S22 and Galaxy Tab S8 series devices, so customers will no longer need to download a separate app. And, according to Google, gadgets will support Material You, the company’s new personalized design language.