If you're looking for an alternative to Zoom and Skype, there's a new contender to consider: Google Duo now supports video calls for up to 12 people (up from eight), making it a viable choice for bigger meetings.
Zoom is one of the biggest names in video conferencing right now, but it's not without its problems, including the privacy of its invite system (which allows anyone with the link to join a call), and the fact that until recently, its iOS app shared data with Facebook even if you didn't have an account
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The announcement came from Sanaz Ahari Lemelson, senior director of product and design for Google's communication products.
We are grateful that Duo is helping users see their loved ones all around the world. We recognize group calling is particularly critical right now. We have increased group calling from 8 participants to 12 effective today. More to come. #AllInThisTogether #COVID19March 27, 2020
The change comes into effect immediately, and you don't need to update the Google Duo app to start making bigger video calls.
As Engadget (opens in new tab) explains, group video calling is a relatively new feature for Duo. The app only supported two-way calls when it launched in 2016, and support for up to eight participants was only added last year.
Duo's latest update still leaves it some way behind Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangouts, which all support well over 30 callers, but there are other reasons you might pick it over the competition.
Unlike Hangouts, Duo doesn't require a paid subscription for multi-way calls, and there's no time limit on meetings. FaceTime requires all participants to use an Apple device, whereas Duo works on both iOS and Android, and because it's not as well known, there's likely to be less demand in its servers right now, which could lead to more stable calls.
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