Google Duo launches web video chats for up to 32 people

Google’s web-based chat app aims at FaceTime with expanded calls

The video conferencing wars continue to ramp up, with competing tech companies taking turns upgrading their video-calling technology.

Now stepping up to the plate is Google Duo, the video-chat app that’s Google’s answer to FaceTime. Just a few months ago, only eight people could hop on a call at a time. In March, Google raised it to 12. And now, the maximum number of callers in the same video chat jumps to 32, a company official confirmed on Twitter.

“Today one of our most requested features for Duo — group calling on the web with up to 32 people — is starting to roll out on the latest version of Chrome,” announced Sanaz Ahari Lemelson, a senior director of product and design at Google.

Spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, competitors in the videoconferencing and video-calling industry are racing to improve their products. 

Zoom has seen massive growth recently, prompting Microsoft Teams to upgrade its videoconferencing technology. Soon, the number of on-screen participants you can see on a Teams meeting will grow to 49, matching Zoom. 

As for Google Duo, its upgrade gives the video-chat app the same capacity as FaceTime, which allows up to 32 people on the same video call. That’s still lower than Skype’s 50-person calls, but it’s higher than WhatsApp’s eight-caller limit.

Google also has the videoconferencing platform Google Meet, which just recently became available on Android and iOS devices

Google launched Duo in 2016, allowing users to make and receive video calls over Wi-Fi and data. For a few years, group calls on Duo were limited to Android and iOs users, but it’s since come over to the Chrome desktop browser.

To kickoff a group video call on the web version of Duo, go to duo.google.com. You should see your contacts there. If you click on a “Create Group” button on the left, you should get a shareable link. Click on “Add People” to search for up to 31 contacts to add to the call.

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