The update, which will be rolling out worldwide in the next week, produces significantly better video call quality – even if you’re using a low bandwidth connection. So, even if your kids are gunning down hordes of enemies in an online multiplayer game upstairs or bingeing on Disney+, the call you make to relatives should be crystal-clear in quality.
The improvements to call quality with sluggish internet connections come courtesy of a new video codec called AV1. It was built by an industry-wide consortium called the Alliance for Open Media. The arrival of the codec on Google Duo should help with video call stability too.
After the upgrade, you should notice fewer stutters, unnatural pauses, or video streams that change the pitch of your voice when chatting.
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Google has taken the opportunity to bring a number of new features to its Duo app alongside the switch in codex. The niftiest of these is the ability to capture photos of your ongoing call within the app. This means you won’t need to take a screenshot to capture yourself and the other people on the call.
But unlike using a screenshot to achieve the same result, it won’t include the time and the plethora of system icons that line the top of your Android or iOS phone.
Not only that, but Google hopes to stop users ditching Duo in favour of rivals like Zoom or Houseparty by expanding the maximum group video call size up to 12 participants.
As it stands, the maximum number of people in a Google Duo is eight.
And Google Duo isn’t the only source of focus for the Californian search company, it has also added a Zoom-like gallery view for all users on its enterprise application, Google Meet – formally known as Google Hangouts.
As with all video call applications, Google says it has seen a huge surge in the number of people using its video call app. Google has noticed an 800 percent increase in video messages across its suite of messaging apps.