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.
This story was originally published and last updated .
Google has made good on its earlier promise to expand the number of participants in Duo video calls. Support for up to 32-person calls is now rolling out for Duo on Chrome, ramping up the platform's ability to scale to compete with Zoom calls.
The last few months have seen a skyrocketing use of video calling, be it for work or personal communication. Some services, like Zoom or Google Meet, made joining calls easier for groups of people by simply sharing a link, and now Duo is catching up to them.
Since its launch in 2016, Google Duo has used end-to-end encryption for calls, messages, notes, and all kinds of communications carried through it. That encryption is one of the reasons we recommend using Duo to catch up with friends and family, but most users may not be aware of it. Now Google is boasting this privacy-centric approach for everyone to see, and while it's at it, it added the option to send more emojis to your contacts.
Last week, Google Duo started rolling out a long-awaited feature that let others reach you over your email address, which meant you didn't have to share your phone number with anyone you wanted to video call. When we covered the news, we tried setting up Duo from scratch using only an email address, but discovered we still needed a phone number for the first sign-up. It turns out there's a nuance: you do need a phone number on phones, but not on tablets.
With the latest version of Google Duo, the video calling service is adding several features that were either officially announced or secretly unearthed, including a new family mode and some timely filters. The most interesting of these additions, however, is the option to make yourself reachable over email, and thus remove the need to share your phone numbers with others to allow them to call you.
As we continue to spend an inordinate amount of time at home, many of us are resorting to video chat to feel close to friends and family we can't (or at least shouldn't) see in person. Despite its name, Google Duo is actually perfectly capable of handling group calls, too — and you really ought to give it a shot.
To stop the current coronavirus pandemic, we all have to stay home and avoid meeting friends and family. Sadly, it's not necessarily easy to keep in touch with loved ones, but video calling services like Google Duo help alleviate this issue. The system had a limit of up to eight participants until now but has just raised it to twelve, allowing for larger virtual gatherings during the pandemic.
Out of all of Google's recent messaging efforts, at least one has been an actual hit, reaching near-ubiquity for Android users: Duo. The video messaging app/service has also caught Samsung's attention, and the company has just announced that Duo will see direct integration into Samsung's Galaxy S20.