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Google Duo to take on Zoom with vital new feature

Google has confirmed its plans to increase call capacity, according to Android Police. We haven’t been given a strict schedule for the roll-out of the new feature, but the publication says we can expect the bigger video calls to arrive “soon.”

The free video-calling software already allows you to cram up to 12 people in a call, but bumping that number up to 32 could make it a more serious Zoom competitor. And unlike that popular conference tool, Duo won’t kick you off after 40 minutes, and it comes with proper end-to-end encryption.

Related: The best ways to video chat

Google already has a free group-calling tool called Hangouts, but the company has plans to retire that option at some point later this year. So it’s not surprising that Google is making some drastic changes to Duo, as it tries to hone the software to compete with the likes of WhatsApp and Skype.

The company only recently expanded the maximum number of participants from 8 to 12, and introduced some new video codec technology to improve call quality. It also created a new ‘message’ feature, which lets you leave video notes for your contacts and has a special in-call photo feature.

On top of those handy (but functional) features, Duo has just gained a special family mode, which lets you try out silly video filters when the chat starts to get boring.

But as the tool still doesn’t have any screen sharing capacity, it’s probably best suited to family and friend-related chats rather than in-depth meetings with your sales team.

Related: Zoom vs Google Meet

Anyone with a recent Pixel phone will already be familiar with Duo, as it’s the default video-calling app on the phones. But you can also get the app on iOS and other Android phones, as well as on your browser.

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