Today's Samsung event leaned heavily on new hardware, but Google's bringing some software updates to those new devices that will make it easier to view content with friends. The Galaxy S22 smartphones and the S8 laptops will support the new live sharing feature in Google Duo. Much like how SharePlay works in FaceTime calls on iOS devices, this feature will let you and whomever you're chatting with view the same notes, photos, videos and more at the same time.
According to Google, this will only work in Google Duo calls and will only work with certain apps. YouTube is included, so you'll be able to share and watch a video with friends and family while you're chatting with them. It'll also work with Google Maps with shared and searched-for locations, Samsung Notes and Gallery for documents and photos, and Jamboard, which is Google's interactive whiteboard app.
The catch is that this feature will only be fully supported on Galaxy smartphones and tablets, as well as Pixel smartphones. That means only those with Samsung and Pixel devices will be able to host live-sharing calls — those with other Android devices will only be able to join those calls, rather than host them.
Google's new feature comes a few months after Apple launched SharePlay in iOS 15.1. Similarly, Apple's feature only works on iOS devices but there appears to be more support for it across different apps at the moment. For example, SharePlay lets you watch Apple TV+ shows as a group, take Fitness+ workouts at the same time and play a few games together. But Google currently does have the upper-hand when it comes to YouTube, as the video service is not currently SharePlay-compatible. Google has not yet stated when we could see more apps gain support for Duo live sharing.
In addition to live sharing in Duo, Samsung's latest devices will have access to a couple of other new Android features. YouTube previews are coming to Messages, which basically means that you can share previews of YouTube videos in Messages to help your contacts decide if they want to watch the video immediately or later. If they do want to check it out now, they can watch the full video without leaving the chat. Thankfully, unlike live sharing, the YouTube previews feature will eventually make its way onto all Android smartphones, with the exception of Android Go devices. Also, the Galaxy S22 and Tab S8 series have Voice Access built in, so rather than needing to download a separate app, you can use these prompts to tap, scroll and navigate without using your fingers.
Catch up on all of the news from Samsung’s February Unpacked event right here!