Google has now reportedly prepared an incoming update to its Duo video calling app that ups the limits on the maximum number of users in a single call to 32. The search giant reportedly confirmed the update and is already working on rolling it out. That should mean that users will see the increased limit size in short order.
An email promotion in support of the update has also been making the rounds, touting one or two other features. Those have, for the most part, already been covered in recent releases and news. The first listed is support for end-to-end encryption for the service, securing video calls against intrusion. But Google also notes that users can take snapshots of memorable moments in Duo. AR effects that change based on facial expressions have also been added.
This boost to 32 users in Google Duo is not without good reason
Now, it was already reported previously that Google would be boosting its participant limits in Duo to 32 users via an update. It also pointed out that the rapid clip at which updates are releasing came with good reason. The company almost certainly hopes to compete directly with increasingly popular video calling and chatting services like Zoom. But the primary reason given for this update is to allow users to stay connected in spite of social distancing guidelines.
That doesn't mean that there aren't other purposes as well. And that's particularly pertinent given a recent shift in Google's structure pertaining to its messaging apps.
The company recently assigned all of its messaging platforms from Google Meet and Google Chat to Messages, Google Duo, and the phone app to an individual overseer — Javier Soltero. Mr. Soltero's job here is to unify things and bring consistency across the board. So this recent array of updates is undoubtedly part of that effort as well.
This stacks on incoming changes to web use and expansion
Stacking atop those changes, Google is also set to deliver its Duo messaging and video calling platform on the web. That's set to happen over the coming weeks and will come with obvious benefits. But it also ties back into yet another update that should help make the service more popular. Namely, Google is finally ending reliance on phone numbers.
Up until that other upcoming update rolls out, Google Duo effectively requires a phone number to work. That's a fairly big limitation if users are to be able to use the app online. It also gets in the way of adoption. Not only do some users feel uncomfortable linking the service to their phone number. Not every user is going to like having to give out their phone number for others to contact them.
However, Google plans to add an option that lets users be found via email addresses. That solves at least part of the issue with Duo, as compared to the competition. In effect, it gives users an alternative way to be contacted. That's expected in a similar timeframe as the online rollout of Duo, according to recent leaks.