When it comes to communication services, Google has had a pretty rocky track record. The company is known for killing several messaging services in favor of newer apps which, in turn, are also killed eventually. However, its video calling app — Google Duo — has proved to be an exception so far. Duo has continued to receive Google’s attention since its launch back in 2016 and the company keeps adding new features to the app quite frequently. Group video calling is one such feature that was added to the app last year in July.
At the time of launch, the group video calling feature on Google Duo only supported a maximum of 4 users per group. However, the company increased the group limit to a total of 8 participants shortly after its rollout. Earlier this year in March, Google further increased the group limit and Google Duo users can now have a maximum of 12 people per group video call. While the larger group size is definitely a welcome addition, the app still requires you to manually invite contacts to join your group call which could prove to be a bit cumbersome. In a bid to make the process easier, Google is now working on invite links for group video and audio calls.
A teardown of Google Duo 85 has unearthed strings of code that point towards an upcoming feature that will allow users to share invite links for their group video call, much like other video calling apps. Users with access to a group call link will be able to tap on it to instantly open Google Duo and join the group call.
Share this group link for friends to join " Share this group link for friends to join. When you tap "Start," group members will get a notification to join the call. " Share Share this link to add friends to this group. %s Share link to group Add contacts, or share a link for friends to join
However, before joining the call, Duo will warn users to look at the member list for the group call. The code further reveals that the app will also warn users if they don’t have any known contacts in the group or if there’s a blocked contact in the group call.
This group includes a contact you have blocked on Duo "Use caution, you don't have any known contacts in this group" Welcome to the group! Take a look at the members before you join.
While the feature isn’t currently available in the latest stable release of the app, prolific reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong has managed to surface the web UI that will be shown when a web user tries to join a group video or audio call through an invite link.
Google Duo is working on group invite links pic.twitter.com/NCQl3JV1PX
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) April 22, 2020
As of now, we have no information regarding the feature’s release timeline. We’ll update this post as soon as group invite links go live in Google Duo.
Thanks to PNF Software for providing us a license to use JEB Decompiler, a professional-grade reverse engineering tool for Android applications.
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