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[UPDATED] Google Duo To Use Lyra Codec To Offer Natural-Sounding Calls On 2G

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UPDATE: Google has made Lyra open source, for other apps to use. The company kept its promise by doing this.Do note that the first beta release of the Lyra codec is only optimized to use by Android developers on Linux machines. Google will offer more in that regard soon, though, it’s bringing support for more platforms. Stay tuned.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Seeing the growth of users making use of video calls to connect to their loved ones, Google Duo on Android is now testing a new Lyra codec to offer natural-sounding voice calls on 2G.

This is a new compression technique that guarantees good quality voice or video calls in poor network reception areas. The new Lyra codec is under the testing stage and will surely benefit users who do not have access to high network connections.

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Notably, with the new Google Duo Lyra codec, the app will offer natural-sounding voice or video calls with as little as 3 kbps of network bandwidth.

As per a video shared by Google on YouTube, this new feature is developed keeping in mind the rural people of India and Brazil, that still do not have access to high-speed internet. Not only this, but users staying in congested network areas will also be benefitted.

The current COVID-19 pandemic is still not over yet, and we cannot visit our loved ones. Video calling is one of the key means of communication that we have been relying on since the pandemic.

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Google Duo is one of the most-used apps during this pandemic period. Talking about numbers, Google Duo and Meet hosted over 1 trillion minutes of video calling last year alone.

Google Duo Lyra codec will release the major strain on internet infrastructure around the world

To ease out the strain on the internet infrastructure around the world, this new Lyra codec will help in this process. Lyra codec is meant to provide recognizable, understandable, and natural-sounding human speech at low network speeds.

Google was able to achieve this with the assistance of machine learning. The AI was trained on “thousands of hours of audio with speakers in over 70 languages.” This ensured Google Duo to use Lyra codec by as many people as possible.

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Google Duo Lyra codec is designed to run on a high-end cloud server to a mid-range smartphone with only 90ms of latency. Previously, you would have noticed audio differences in a low bandwidth network. Apparently, the voice signal becomes less intelligible and more robotic.

Thanks to the low-bitrate speech codec Lyra, you will get high-quality audio even on the slowest networks. So, no more robotic or distorted sounds.

Google has posted several audio samples, comparing the sound and video capabilities of video calls done using the new speech codec Lyra. You can check out all the samples by heading over here.

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Good thing is that this new speech codec feature is now rolling out for Google Duo Android users. Google plans to release Lyra as open-source over the coming weeks. This would allow third-party developers to incorporate Lyra into their own apps.