It seems Google has plans for Android 14 devices to be easily usable as a webcam for your laptop or desktop.

When the pandemic hit and millions of people were suddenly working from home, video conferencing apps became one of the key ways that we stayed connected with colleagues, friends, and family. With that sudden boom in webcam usage, new solutions were needed and quickly built to allow better video quality without needing to invest in a dedicated USB camera.

The best example of this is the Camo app, which allows you to easily use an iOS or Android device as a webcam on a Windows or Mac computer. Since then, companies like Apple have worked to build this functionality into their own devices. Based on new code changes spotted by Mishaal Rahman, Google is working on its own answer to the Camo app and Apple’s “Continuity Camera.”

The in-progress project, dubbed “DeviceAsWebcam,” seems to be exactly what it says on the tin, allowing you to plug in an Android device and use it as a webcam. Importantly, at this stage there don’t appear to be any limitations on how you decide to use your Android phone as a webcam, as Google is opting for the “USB Video Class” or “UVC” standard, which should work across numerous devices. This stands in bold contrast to Apple’s Continuity Camera which only works between iOS and Mac devices.

Continuity Camera on macOS Ventura

Notably, the publicly visible work in Android so far is merely a “service” to provide video data through USB. There also needs to be an app on your device that puts the video data from your camera in the right place to be transmitted. More specifically, unlike an app like Camo, this has to be a system app, which means if Google doesn’t create a generic Android-ready app, manufacturers will need to provide their own.

That being the case, it’s not clear at this point exactly which phones will support being used as a webcam. Similarly, while it would be a decent guess to assume that this new webcam functionality could be ready in time for Android 14, we likely won’t know more until the Developer Preview process begins.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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