Google Duo gets souped up video calling for COVID-19 outbreak

As people attempt to self-isolate and work from home, they're turning to video calling to communicate with others. A number of video calling services have experienced an uptick in traffic, and though Google hasn't shared anything official, we imagine Google Duo is among them. Today, the app is getting a new feature that will help larger groups stay in touch.

As revealed by Google senior director of product and design Sanaz Ahari on Twitter, Google is bumping up the number of people supported by group calling from 8 to 12. "We are grateful that Duo is helping users see their loved ones all around the world," Ahari said. "We recognize group calling is particularly critical right now."

Further, Ahari wrote in a separate tweet that Google is monitoring feedback across Duo, Messages, and Dialer. Top requests will get prioritization when it comes to actual implementation, so it sounds like there were a lot of people out there who were requesting a higher participant limit in Duo calls.

Google, like pretty much every company out there, has had to make a lot of concessions in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. The biggest is the cancellation of Google I/O – at first, Google only cancelled the in-person portion of the show, saying that it would host an online event in its place. Last week, however, it wound up canning Google I/O entirely.

There's also been a bit of back and forth with the Chrome team. Google initially paused Chrome and Chrome OS releases, only to recommit to them this week, albeit with an altered schedule. We'll see what happens with Duo, Messages, and Dialer from here, so stay tuned for more.