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Google’s Duo video call app today introduced group video calls for up to 8 people for iOS and Android users worldwide. At launch, Duo group video calls will not be available for Google Assistant smart displays, a company spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.

Google’s Nest Hub has no camera, but devices from JBL, Lenovo, and other brands can make Duo video calls, as can the Nest Hub Max, due out this summer.

The ability to add text and emojis or draw on video messages was also added today on Android and is coming soon for iOS. Google introduced video messages with Duo in March. Data Saving Mode to limit Duo’s use of cellular and WiFi data was introduced today for users in places like India, Indonesia, and Brazil.


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The announcement comes as little surprise as Google began testing group video calls with up to 4 users in select countries roughly six months ago.

The additions of group video calls for Duo means Google can better compete with Facebook’s Portal, which allows Messenger group video calls with up to 7 people and will begin to make WhatsApp video calls starting this summer.

Amazon adopted Skype for video calls with Echo Show smart displays last fall.

Due out this summer, Google’s Nest Hub Max uses on-device machine learning to personalize what a person standing in front it sees. It will be able to show your Duo call contact list in Home View, a list of options seen with a swipe down from the top of a Google Assistant smart display. Google’s Face Match facial recognition will also personalize results shown on screen for podcasts, recipes, and local events.

As the only smart display on the market with facial recognition, it will be the only capable of providing such personalization, a company spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.

Earlier this month, Google combined its smart speaker and display team with Nest home video and security to form Google Nest. Google also renamed the Home Hub, which has no camera, the Nest Hub.

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