Google Duo began its life a few years ago as a simple app for making two-way video calls using your smartphone.

Over time Google added a web client, and support for making group video calls. And now a senior Google official has announced the company is increasing the number of people that can participate in a group call to 12, up from the previous limit of 8.

The change comes at a time when people around the world are likely relying on internet video services such as Zoom, Hangouts, and FaceTime more than ever due to the stay-at-home and social distancing policies rolling out around the globe as communities and nations try to slow the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19.

As Android Police notes, the Google Duo change appears to be in place already, but it’s not clear at this point whether this is a permanent change or if Google will revert to the 8-person limit at some point in the future.

And there are still some limitations — group calls still aren’t available from a web browser yet. You’ll need to use a mobile device to chat with more one person at a time using Duo.

But according to the original announcement from Google’s Sanaz Ahari, there’s “more to come,” so hopefully we’ll get clarification on that point in the future.



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2 Comments

  1. I know this is how we’re supposed to be doing all long distance communications now but most video conferencing still feels weirder and more cumbersome than just a phone call.
    Maybe if I just hung a tablet on the wall and just kept a persistent video feed open to various contacts who also hung a tablet up on their walls and kept persistent video feeds open it would work out better (maybe that’s the facebook portal’s selling point? always on a call, all the time? I don’t even know what that thing does.)
    Not that that’s not without its problems but you know, get with the times, or get abandoned is a pretty strong ultimatum.

    1. I abandoned Duo before I ever tried it. Any service that requires a mobile device for full functionality is out for me.
      I still make phone calls professionally, but Discord has been my favorite to use with coworkers during the past couple weeks of remote work, despite never having used it before. You can just hang out in a room ready to answer questions from coworkers, or easily start a new room for a separate discussion. Plus, it works just fine in a web browser. I’d say it’s better than a phone call, and on par with being able to walk into the neighboring office for a chat.

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