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Video calling’s about to get way better on Android: Here’s how

Google’s video calling app Duo has been updated to allow for group video calls, the company has announced.

Group video calls are now available worldwide on both Android and iOS. Although for the latter you may be better off using FaceTime, given it allows a ridiculous 32 people to share a call, rather than Duo’s somewhat lower cap of eight.

Still, what you say will stay between you and the seven other people on the call, Google says: “like all Duo calls and video messages, group calls are also encrypted end-to-end so your conversations stay private.”

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Of course, having a video call with eight people can be expensive if you have limited data. That’s why the company is also introducing a data saving mode, where “both you and the person you’re calling will save on data usage in video calls.”

Google doesn’t go into specifics of what corners will be cut to allow this, but you’d assume a lower video and audio quality. It’s currently being trialed in Indonesia, India and Brazil, but “will be rolling out to more markets in the coming months.”

It makes sense for India to be in the mix. It’s Duo’s most popular market, and the company says that nearly two thirds of Duo calls in the country involve someone outside of the top eight cities, making the option of saving data invaluable.

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Finally, there’s something a little more frivolous. While Duo has long had video messages – the 21st century answer to the pre-recorded answer phone message, for when you can’t talk – Google is now letting you add a bit more personality. “Personalise video messages by adding text and emojis, or even drawing on your message using brushes,” Google writes. That’s live on Android right now, and will be “coming soon to iOS”.

Do these features make Google Duo more appealing or do you favour another video calling app? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

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