Google’s excellent Duo video calling platform — and the better half of failed chat app Allo — is set to get a lot better if you’ve got lots of people to call at once.
Google is globally rolling out group calling to Duo on both iOS and Android. Duo’s group calling supports a reasonable eight simultaneous callers. Further, Google boasts that all of Duo’s calls are end-to-end encrypted.
To compare, Apple’s FaceTime allows for 32 members in a group call, while WhatsApp offers four. Skype and Facebook Messenger both offer 50-member group calls, but Messenger will only show six video feeds at a time.
Duo also forms the basis for video calling on Google’s smart displays, but group calling is reportedly exclusive to mobile at launch. While the Nest Hub Max is currently the only Google smart display with a camera for video calling — and it’s not yet in Canada — the mobile exclusivity also affects the Duo web client. In other words, if you want to group call in Duo, you’ll need to use a mobile device to do it.
Finally, Google is also adding a Data Saving Mode to Duo, but it will be restricted to select regions, including Indonesia, India and Brazil. If you turn on Data Saving Mode in settings, both you and the person you’re calling will use less data in the video call.
Google says Data Saving Mode will roll out to more markets in the coming months.