Google is bringing Duo group video calling to the web. This means Google Duo users will soon be able to make group video calls from their PC and laptops. Google doesn’t say if Duo for web will also support video calls with up to 12 participants like it is on mobile, but, it does say that it’s working on a new layout that would let users see “more” people at the same time possibly in line with Meet’s new tile-based interface that gives it a more Zoom-like look and feel. Its direct competitor, aka WhatsApp, offers no such functionality for now.
Google Duo group video calling for web will arrive in the coming weeks starting as a preview on Chrome which is the company’s default browser. Google Duo for web is also available on Firefox and Safari, so these browsers could be next in line to support group video calling after Chrome, though we can’t say for sure yet. Moving on, it would also be possible to invite participants through a link, sort of like how it is on most group video calling apps and services. A Google account will be required for users to group video call through Duo on the web, the global search engine giant has announced.
Google has also announced an all-new “family” mode in Duo that would allow users to video call with close friends and families in fun ways. The dedicated family mode in Google Duo will give participants access to new and unique Snapchat-style masks and filters to make video calls fun and engaging. Google Duo will also briefly hide mute and hang up toggles in family mode to prevent users from accidentally turning them on during video calls. Google is also bringing family mode-kind masks and filters to regular one-on-one Duo video calls.
Google previously announced that it is working to update Duo’s underlying video codec technology switching to the new AV1 video codec that should entail an improvement in video quality even on very low bandwidth connections. Plus, it’s also working to increase the participant count in group video and voice calls.
Like most video calling services, Google’s Duo is also seeing a surge in usage as more and more people are forced to stay cooped inside their homes to curb the spread of COVID-19. People are making up to eight times more group calls on Duo now, even as the whole service is pulling over 10 million new users every week, according to Google, which is why it’s focusing a great deal now on how to make the all-round experience better for users.
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