When Google introduced the Nest Hub Max, it came with a built-in camera and microphone that allowed for two-way video calling. Sadly, it was only possible to have one-to-one sessions until now, meaning you couldn't join conferences from your smart display. The company is now expanding the device's capabilities by enabling you to join group calls straight from your Hub Max.
The feature is rolling out today in the US, both for Google Duo and Meet users, letting you have calls with up to 32 people in the same room. Unfortunately, you'll have to create groups using the Duo Mobile app first, before telling you Hub max “Hey Google, make a group call." However, once these groups are created, you'll be able to tap on the Duo group you want to connect with, without having to touch your phone. In addition to Nest Hub Max, Duo group video calling is rolling out on other smart displays, including the LG XBOOM AI ThinQ WK9 Smart Display, JBL Link View, and Lenovo’s Smart Displays.
If you're a Google Meet user, you'll be able to say “Hey Google, start a meeting” to connect with up to 100 people. You can either join the meeting using its code or automatically join your next conference call if it's in your Google Calendar. For the time being, Meet is only supported on the Hub Max. Also, the feature is in beta for G Suite accounts, meaning not everybody will be able to join conference calls from their kitchen. Instead, admins will have to sign up their domain first, before people can benefit from the functionality.
People would have definitely enjoyed this feature during the lockdown, but it's still great Google is continuing to improve its products and services. To be honest, I'm a bit surprised this feature is only being released now, since conferencing was already available in Duo and Meet.