Google outlined planned enhancements to video calling app Duo to meet increased demand for online meetings during the ongoing Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

In a blog, Google Duo group product manager Dave Citron said one of the main upgrades will focus on improving call quality and reliability even on low bandwidth connections, with new video codec technology due in the coming week.

Citron said the service was using end-to-end encryption to ensure security and AI to tackle audio interruptions.

Google will also expand group video call participant numbers, after a recent increase from eight to 12, in the coming weeks.

Yesterday (21 April), it enabled users to take a photo during video calls and share it automatically with other participants. The feature is initially available only for one-to-one conversations on smartphones, tablets and Chromebooks, but Citron said it would be expanded to more devices and group calls in the near future.

Another update will allow users to automatically save their personalised video and voice messages, removing a 24 hour expiration period.

Citron noted Duo has attracted more than 10 million new weekly users in recent weeks, with minutes of use on calls up tenfold.

Google’s move comes in a time when rival video conferencing service Zoom faced questions over its security by US state attorney generals and authorities in Germany.