[Update 4: Group Size Increased to 12] Group video calling in Google Duo goes live globally
Google was at the disadvantage of being late when it launched Allo and Duo to compete against the much older existing heavyweights. As a result, Google Allo, the online messaging service collapsed under the pressure of giants like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram, but Google Duo has sustained the pressure for delivering video calling as its primary feature – an experience similar to Apple’s Facetime. To make up to its competitors, Duo has been added with additional features like audio calling, 30-second-long video messages, support for web browsers and tablets. Meanwhile, another new functionality making its way to the app is Group video calling, which was spotted late last year and is now live in select regions.
Di bulan Ramadan nanti mau video call lancar rame – rame sama teman dan keluarga?
— Google Indonesia (@Google_IDN) April 24, 2019
Google Indonesia tweeted out the good news that Duo will now support group video calling in the preparation of the upcoming month of Ramadan but we’re yet to come across any report of the new feature being available in any other country. For now, Duo allows a maximum of four participants just like WhatsApp, which is decent for a start, if not as good as Facebook Messenger or Facetime.
From the teaser shared by Google, it looks like users can only add members before the call and not during it. There’s a dedicated button for ending calls and another for creating new groups, but we’re not sure if creating a new group will cut the existing call or just put it on hold – even though former is more likely.
We’ll be obliged to inform you once we spot the Duo’s group video calling in other regions of the world. Earlier previews of the features suggested the upcoming functionality will allow users to group to seven people and even save these groups. Meanwhile, we can also expect audio-based conference calling will also be supported but similar functionality via Google Home devices might take a little longer.
Update 1: Rolling out in US, Canada, and India
Google Duo group calling was originally only available in Indonesia. The rollout has been very slow, but we’re finally getting it in more countries. It’s now available in the US, Canada, and India. Simply swipe down to create a group, which can be up to 3 other people. The number of people that can be in a group call should be increasing soon.
Update 2: Limit increased to 8 people per group
Confirming the above-mentioned leak by Android Police, the limit for group calling is now being increased to eight from four previously. This means that users will now be able to add up to seven others in a group audio or video call. The update was shared by Justin Uberti, Google engineer and the lead for Google Duo.
We can confirm that the feature is now available to users in India. Meanwhile, we also expect Google to roll the feature in currently left out regions, soon.
Update 3: Rolling out globally + New Features
It only took a couple of days for Google to finish rolling out 8-member group calling to the rest of the world. They’ve also announced a few new features as well. Data Saving mode is available in Indonesia, India, and Brazil. It works with WiFi and mobile networks and it will also save data the person you’re calling. Video messages now have customization options that include text, emojis, and drawing. These features will be rolling out in the next few days.
Update 4: Group Size Increased to 12
We are grateful that Duo is helping users see their loved ones all around the world. We recognize group calling is particularly critical right now. We have increased group calling from 8 participants to 12 effective today. More to come. #AllInThisTogether #COVID19
— Sanaz (@sanazahari) March 27, 2020
After expanding group calling to 8 people last May, Google is now bumping the Duo video call limit to 12 people. Video calling is very important right now as a large portion of the population is working from home. This change is effective starting today, as announced by Sanaz Ahari, Sr. Director of Product & Design at Google.
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