Zoom has been grabbing a lot of headlines for a user base that ballooned from 10-million daily users to 200-million during the pandemic (and the increased scrutiny that comes with increased use). But other video communications services have also seen an uptick in usage as folks stuck at home try to stay connected to one another while social distancing.
So it’s not surprising to see developers rolling out new features.
WhatsApp is increasing the number of people who can participate in group video calls from 4 to 8. And Google recently upped the group video call limit for its Duo app from 8 to 12.
Now Google is unveiling a few other changes coming to Duo soon, including support for a more efficient video codec and the ability to snap a picture during video calls.
Here’s a roundup of recent tech news from around the web.
- Four new Google Duo features to help you stay connected [Google]
Google is bringing AV1 codec to Google Duo for higher-quality video chats on low-bandwidth connections. Other new features include photo capture, group chat with up to 12 people.
- WhatsApp increases group call limit to 8 participants [WABetaInfo]
WhatsApp is beginning to roll out support calls for groups of up to 8 people (the previous limit was 4). The feature currently requires a beta version of the company’s Android or iOS app.
- 8Bitdo TG16 controller for the TurboGrafx-16 Mini [Amazon]
8Bitdo made a $25 wireless game controller for the TurboGrafx-16 Mini and PC Engine Mini. It ships May 20th, and it’s also compatible with the Nintendo Switch.
- Samsung Announces Blood Pressure Monitoring Application for Galaxy Watch Devices [Samsung]
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 can now function as a blood pressure monitor. Samsung says its Health Monitor app has received South Korean govt certification for use as a cuffless blood pressure monitoring app (but needs to be calibrated with a cuff).
- Introducing Sonos Radio [Sonos]
Sonos enters the streaming space with Sonos Radio, a free (largely ad-supported) service available to Sonos users through the company’s existing app.
- AMD Expands 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen Desktop Processor Family [AMD]
AMD adds two new low-cost chips to its 3rd-gen Ryzen desktop family, the $99 Ryzen 3 3100 and $120 Ryzen 3 3300X.
- Check out wasp-os on the #PineTime [@thepine64]
This work-in-progress open source smartwatch operating system includes a bootloader and MycroPython runtime and a set of drivers and apps. The video below shows WASP OS running on a pre-release version of Pine64’s upcoming PineTime smartwatch.
Jitsi Meet and Jami: Exist.
Everyone else: “but everyone I know uses zoom!” or “now don’t go trying to pull a fast one on me, I need something I understand, like the face book”, or “*crickets*”.
Also, glad to see that my watch can measure just how mad I got at something I saw on TV, because that’s definitely something that should be any of Samsung’s business.
I don’t use Duo myself, but when these video conferencing platforms move to newer codecs it is always a death knell for anyone with an older computer.
At work I use a Macbook with an older 5th gen Intel CPU, because I don’t like the keyboards on the newer Macbooks. And the only downside for me is that we use Google Meet/Hangouts for video conferences at my work. Unfortunately Chrome does not offer hardware-decoding ability for Google’s VP9 video on Intel chips older than 7th gen.
So this means that when I’m in a call with 4 colleagues, my computer is using Software decoding to show me 4 HD video feeds simultaneously. My CPU is pinned to 100% usage.
But is it worth watching your colleagues in all full HD glory so much?
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