Google Duo group video calls have arrived

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Google Duo's long-awaited group video calling feature has finally arrived for users of the app around the world.

Having been tested on select users since January, the feature had already been spotted in a few countries by eagled-eyed users earlier this month, according to Android Central.

Now group calling on Google Duo is available globally on iOS and Android, and means that you can video call up to seven other people at one time. According to a blog post by Google, "group calls are also encrypted end-to-end so your conversations stay private" – which is how video messages are handled on the service.

Save your precious data

Google has also announced a new data saving mode for the app in select regions, "including Indonesia, India, and Brazil". In these countries, turning on data saving mode in the app's settings will limit data usage on mobile networks and WiFi, "for both you, and the person you're calling".

This feature is only available on Android right now, but Google says it will be "rolling out to more markets in the coming months"; whether that means it will also come to iOS remains to be seen.

As well as that, Google has updated Duo's video messages feature, which allows you to send quick recorded messages to your contacts. Now on Android and "coming soon to iOS", you'll be able to personalize video messages by "adding text and emojis, or even drawing on your message using brushes".

Whether these new features will prove a problem for Apple's FaceTime isn't clear yet; after all, Google Duo allows up to seven users per chat, which pales in comparison to FaceTime's 32 users per chat.

That being said, who really wants to speak to 32 people at once? Seven sounds far more manageable.

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