Video calls are a great way to connect with family that doesn’t live close but during these trying times, face-to-face contact is more important than ever as we continue to keep our distance and limit in-person gatherings. Google understands this and now, they’re bringing group video calling to the one place where it really needs to be. Yes, you can make Duo calls to groups of up to 12 people from your mobile device but things get a bit crowded when you have that many faces on one screen. Thankfully, Google has recently added group call support to Duo on the Web which makes video chatting with the entire family, book club, youth group or you name it a breeze.
To build on Duo’s versatility, Google is now rolling out Duo group calls to select Assistant smart displays. The poster child, thanks to its smart camera and extra Google-y features, is the Nest Hub Max but group calls will also be supported on the LG WK9 ThinQ, JBL Link View (great audio quality), and Lenovo’s larger 8″ and 10″ smart displays. To make a call, you need only to create a group in Duo on your phone and then, ask your smart display to make a group call. You’ll then be prompted to select which group you wish to ring. Easy, peasy.
This is a powerful new feature for friends and family alike but what about the countless employees that are now working from home that are taking meetings left and right? Google’s got you covered. If you already own a Nest Hub Max, you will soon be able to join Google Meet video calls on your smart display. For non-GSuite users, you can use this feature by asking your Nest Hub Max to “start a meeting” or ” join a meeting” to enter a meeting code. If your meeting is on your calendar, you can just say “Hey, Google. Join my next meeting.” For GSuite accounts, this feature will be available for teams whose admins have enrolled in the GSuite Assistant Beta program. Group calls for Google Meet with GSuite will first roll out to the Nest Hub Max with other displays presumably gaining the feature down the road. This will be great for employees who happen to already have a Nest Hub Max because who wants to drop a cool $800-$900 on a video conferencing setup? Not this guy. For more details, check out the announcement from The Keyword.