Google's video conferencing platforms Duo and Meet hosted over one trillion minutes of video calls globally this year. In the last eleven months, both the Google services saw numerous changes and upgrades to enable users to converse virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, Google this year also integrated Meet on Gmail to reach out to more users and rival Zoom and Microsoft Teams. As of April 2020, Google Meet had 100 million daily users against Zoom's 300 million daily users for the same period.
Google shared the development in a blog post where it also provides a recap of all the updates rolled out for Meet and Duo this year. It reiterated that Meet calls are unlimited through March 31, 2021, which was postponed from September to enable users to host free calls amid the pandemic. During the first wave of COVID-19 (February-April), Google rolled out a Zoom-like gallery view that can show up to 49 participants. "We launched new features like 49-tile layout, noise cancellation, background blur, and low-light mode plus live captions in five languages to help everyone follow along on the call," the post read. As mentioned, Meet was also integrated on Gmail and is accessible via Nest Hub Max and Chromecast, as well. The video conferencing platform had introduced Breakout Rooms where meetings can be split into small groups for parallel discussions and a hand raising tool for managing participants for its workspace and education customers.
Similarly, Google Duo received features such as doodle on video calls alongside several AR filters. It also introduced Moments (in April) that allows users to take a photo during a video call. Some of the notable features that Duo received this year are 32-user support for Android users, desktop calling, and a new video codec technology for better audio and video calling.
Google Duo and Meet rivals, Zoom and Microsoft Teams have also added a host of features to ease living amid the pandemic. Zoom that has a 40-minute video limit for free users, is currently offering unlimited video calling on the occasion of Christmas and New Years Eve.