Google is once again hiking up the number of people you can video chat with on Duo, only three months after updating the limit to 12 from eight in March. On Google Chrome for desktops, users can now have as many as 32 people in a single group Duo call.
The new 32-person Duo calls are restricted to Google’s own browser since they leverage the latest issue of a technology called WebRTC for offering end-to-end encryption, which is only available on the latest versions of Chrome. Google hasn’t commented on whether it plans to eventually roll it out for other browsers like Firefox yet. We’ve reached out to the company for more information and we’ll update the story when we hear back.
As for mobile, Sanaz Ahari, a senior director of Product & Design at Google, said the new group call limit will arrive for Duo’s Android and iOS apps “over the next couple of weeks.” The new update will put Google Duo on par with FaceTime’s 32-person limit as well.
To make group video calls, all users need to do is head over to Duo’s web app, sign in with their Google accounts, and tap the Create group link button. You can share that link directly with participants or invite them manually.
As demand for video calling platforms spikes across the world, Google has actively rolled out updates for its consumer-facing Duo platform. Two months ago, Google claimed Duo was hosting 10 million new sign-ups per week and that there had been an 8-times surge in video call usage in “regions particularly impacted by social distancing.”
In late April, the company made calls more reliable with a new video codec technology and added a quick button to capture a snapshot of the video call. It also eliminated the mandatory phone number requirement, and users can now have the option to sign up with a Google account. Last month, it rolled out a “family mode” that allows you to apply goofy augmented reality effects and doodle live in one-on-one group chats. In addition, Google is reportedly developing the ability to share your screen on video calls for both Duo’s mobile and web clients.
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