Video chat has long been one of the main selling points of smart screens like the Amazon Echo Show and Google’s Nest Hub Max (the regular hub still lacks a camera, brains). But to date, the latter only offered users the option for one-on-one calls. This is good for the best and for the most part, but as many of us have cut ourselves off from our friends and families, group chats have become something of a lifeline.
It has a big business for application conferencing like Zoom. Once almost exclusively the domain of business meetings, these types of services for casual chat have become increasingly popular. Google has, no doubt, looked into the potential, and announced today that it is finally bringing a group chat via Duo to Hub Max.
The new feature allows up to 32 chats and uses the smart screen’s auto-framing capabilities (similar to those found in Facebook’s competing displays) to place the subject in a picture. It will also hit many third-party Google-ready smart screens, including LG, JBL and Lenovo. The feature requires the user to create a group on the Duo via a connected mobile app. Once this is done, it can be switched on via voice.
There is an even more professionally focused element on it. These companies have long explored the potential of smart screens in the workplace, but now that the home is the office for so many, it makes sense to offer business meetings on these products. Those enrolled in the G Suite with the Google Assistant beta program will be able to join business meetings through Google Meetings.
The facility is coming up in the coming weeks.