Work and personal video calling are growing in the face of COVID-19, with Google announcing last month a handful of new Duo features to meet the demand. Google Duo will soon add web calling groups and sharing links, as well as a family mode.
At the end of March, Google increased group sizes in Duo from 8 to 12, with plans to increase the number even higher to 32 callers in the “coming weeks.” This morning, a “new layout that enables you to see more people at the same time” was predicted. There is a six person square grid and underneath there is a carousel of faces that you can swipe through.
The company today announced that after being limited to Android and iOS, Duo would soon support group calls on the site. This starts out on Chrome as a preview.
In the meantime, you’ll be able to invite someone with a Google Account through a link to the group conversation instead of selecting any contact you want on progress. That’s close to the approach taken by Google Meet, which is now available to free users.
There is a new “family mode” to make video chatting more kid-friendly. Fun features include doodling that anyone will see on the feed, as well as filters and masks that will also be available for one-to-one conversations.
Through opening the menu and pressing “Family” you can activate while in a call. One clever design insight sees Google in this mode mask the mute and end call buttons to avoid premature connectivity issues. This new feature requires that you have your Google Account signed into Duo.
Such latest features coincide with the release of a whimsical “All can do Google Duo” ad that highlights the service’s multi-platform nature and web group calls.