The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent quarantine it caused have made video calling services a mainstay of every household. While Zoom's popularity has skyrocketed, other services have done their best to catch up. Google's Duo added more features than we can count over the past few months, and upped the group call limit from 8 to 12 in March. That capacity has now been increased again to 32.
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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.
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.
As modern society rapidly prepares for what will become one of the loneliest times we will likely ever know, it doesn't mean singles have to be stuck in limbo until things return to normal. Dating service Plenty of Fish is launching a new video streaming feature that will make it easier for potential dates to meet virtually without abandoning the practice of social distancing for an IRL meeting.
Google is on a rampage to transcribe anything that generates speech on its Android platform in real-time. For most Android phones, users can transcribe voice memos with Live Transcribe. Pixels, though, can get system-wide transcription with Live Caption. So, where's the next step forward? Maybe it's with Duo calls.
The renaissance of mobile room-based video chat applications has largely passed, with even Facebook deciding their clone didn't need to stick around. One of the original players, Houseparty, has managed to continue running. In fact, today the app was acquired by video game giant Epic Games.
Usually, Google bundles up new features in big app updates that you can sideload, but it's increasingly common for new features to just show up after a server-side switch gets flipped. That's the case today with Duo. The way you select contacts is different, and you can do different things with them.
The festival of spring and color, Holi, is quite a cheerful celebration in India and Nepal, which is now spreading to more and more countries. Google likes to honor these occasions in various ways, and we knew this year's Holi would bring video effects in Duo. They're now live, though they may be geolimited. Update: They're available in India only.
An update to Google's Duo app began rolling out earlier today, and unlike many other recent app updates, there's actually a brand new feature that doesn't appear to be locked behind a server-side switch. Unfortunately, it also appears that it may not be working properly, and might have been left enabled by accident. Duo is also preparing a special video effect in honor of Valentine's Day.