Google Duo can now support up to eight participants in a video call – if you’re using the mobile app. This new functionality comes as part of a bunch of new updates to Duo, as Google moves away from using Hangouts for video calling.
The addition of increasing the size limit on group video calls comes after the ability to actually make a group video call in the first place which was added at the beginning of this month, with Duo’s tech lead Justin Uberti tweeting that group calls were being rolled out to a small handful of countries, then expanding on those countries by adding the US and a few more.
Group video calls are nothing new from a technological advancement standpoint as they’ve been available through other services and apps prior to now, but the initiative to roll them out to Duo showcases that Google still has the intent of improving Duo in as many ways as it can, starting with the capability for people to use the app to talk to more of their friends and loved ones simultaneously.
How to add up to 7 more people to a video call on Google Duo
Google seems to have already made this feature live for most or all users in the supported countries, so if you use Duo and wanted to give it a try you should be able to test it out without having to update the application. Also it’s worth keeping in mind that once the session starts you can’t add new users to the call, so you’ll probably want to make sure that you add everyone you want to be included before the call begins.
If you want to start a group call on Duo, follow these steps:
- Open Google Duo on your mobile device and click Create Group near the bottom
- If they’re in your Contacts list and signed up for Duo, they’ll show up and you’ll see a checkbox beside their name.
- If they’re not in your contacts, you can add them to the call using their full phone number (including country code).
What else is new?
Eight-way video calling is cool, but that’s not the only new trick coming to Google Duo. There’s a new Data Saving mode coming for some regions, including Indonesia, India, and Brazil. Turning on Data Saving will reduce both your consumption and the amount of data the person you’re calling is using. Google says this feature will roll out to more countries over time.
Finally, you can now personalize your Duo video messages with text, emoji, or even a tool that’ll let you draw using brushes. Video messages are short videos that you can send when you are unable to have a full video call. Soon you may even be able to complete these group video calls via your desktop’s web browser as Google is still reportedly working on a desktop version of Duo for those who may want to participate in a call via their PC instead of through the phone.
This new Duo video messages feature is now available on Android and is coming soon to iOS.