A new Gmail (opens in new tab) update will mean users can soon call friends and colleagues alike as Google looks to make the service one of its central apps.
Direct calling using the company's Google Meet video conferencing (opens in new tab) tool will be coming to the Gmail mobile app as the company looks to make hybrid working less painful for workers spread between home and the office.
The new "Google Meet calling" feature means users will no longer need to open up Google Meet (opens in new tab) to join a meeting or make a quick impromptu call, but can do so directly from the Gmail app itself, much like other existing VoIP services (opens in new tab) around today.
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Gmail video calls
The news was revealed as part of a major expansion to Google Workspace (opens in new tab), with the company saying it hopes to make "spontaneous" workplace meetings a more common occurrence.
Users will be able to open up their Gmail mobile app on Android or iOS and call contacts on their PC, laptop or mobile device, quickly and easily connecting co-workers.
Google says (opens in new tab) that the new Meet calling feature is, "designed to be a seamless experience of initiating a video or audio call between one or more participants" that "better supports the ebbs and flows of hybrid work by allowing for more spontaneous connections."
The feature, set to start rolling out now, won't just be limited to Gmail, with Google saying its expanded call functions will also be coming to all the natural endpoints in Workspace including chats, contact cards and spaces. This includes a new "companion mode" for Google Meet rolling out from November 2021 that will allow users to seamlessly join meetings from their personal device while leveraging in-room audio and video.
Elsewhere, Google also revealed that Google Meet will soon be getting live-translated captions, available in English to French, German, Spanish and Portuguese "later this year", with more languages coming soon.
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