There's light at the end of the tunnel for millions of employees forced to work from home, and Google is here for them ... or at least wants to keep Google Meet relevant in the meantime. Previously Google made its Meet video chat platform free and unlimited through March of this year, eschewing the 30-minute limit on free accounts. Now that freebie period has been extended until June 2021.
Back in December, we reported some WhatsApp beta users got the option to place voice and video calls using their desktop client. While these features were still in testing, they've now been officialized by the company and have started rolling out to all users.
WhatsApp for desktops has made it simple to keep the conversation going even while you’re away from your phone, or maybe you just prefer the typing experience of a full-sized keyboard (who doesn’t?). But you still have to return to your mobile device to make a video or voice call. Well, not anymore. WhatsApp is rolling out the ability to make and receive calls right on your desktop screen, starting with those on the beta version of the app.
For a year defined by videoconferencing, our smart displays have not been able to keep up as a worthy companion — mostly because the apps either aren't there or aren't very good. But there's a giant improvement due for the cross-section of Nest Hub Max owners and Google Meet users and even bigger news for those on Zoom.
We're all on our desktops for video conferences hours on end, but when it comes to hitting up all the people you need to without having to grab the phone you threw into a corner to avoid distraction, well, it's still a dilemma — especially if you use WhatsApp, where voice and video calls are still mobile-only features. But there are signs of a remedy for that need coming soon.
As part of today's Pixel 4a festivities, Google has also announced a new feature that's coming to older Pixels as well. Remember Google's Live Caption feature that transcribes speech in real-time, on-device, for things like videos? Well, Live Caption will now also work for video and voice calls — more useful than ever in these socially distant times.
The latest beta release of the Signal desktop app has picked up a feature the mobile app has had now for years: video and voice calling. Unfortunately, they're one-on-one for now, but it's already live on macOS, Windows, and Linux.