With social distancing being more important than ever, it’s a great time to try out group video chat, offering the ability to catch up with friends and loved ones without the risk of infection. The functionality is available on a variety of video chat services, and one of the most popular right now is Google Duo. 

But while Google does offer the ability to make group video calls via Duo, support is limited to a maximum of 12 users (and that's a recent upgrade) making it rather limited compared to the 32-person limit on FaceTime’s group calling functionality. And let’s not even mention the 50-person limit on offer from the likes of Skype, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. 

But while you could argue that you probably won’t want to chat to more than 12 friends at once, that’s not the only caveat of Google Duo. You see, while you can access Google Duo on Android and iOS smartphones as well as the web - a one-up compared to some services - the group calling functionality is limited to smartphones only, so bear that in mind when setting up your group chats.

With that out of the way, here’s what you need to do to make a group video call on Google Duo.  

Making group video chats on Google Duo

If this is the first time you've made a group call on Google Duo, the first thing you’ll need to do is to create a group. 

Create a group

The first step is to create a group with all your friends in Google Duo. To do that:

  1. Open the Google Duo app. 
  2. Swipe up on the screen to access the menu.
  3. Tap Create group.
  4. Select the contacts you’d like to add to the group and video call.
  5. Tap the Video Call button to initiate the call. 

Your friends will then receive a notification about the group call - simply tap that and they’ll join the group Duo session. 

It’s worth noting that you’ve got the option to save the group once the call is over, making it easier to create video chats in future. Just give the group a name to save it for future use - just be aware that everyone in the group can see the name!

Join a call in progress

If you’ve accidentally dismissed the notification to join a video call on Google Duo, don’t fret - there’s an easy way to join a group call in progress.

  1. Open the Google Duo app.
  2. Swipe up to access the menu.
  3. Under Groups, look for the Live icon - this indicates that a group video chat is in progress.
  4. Tap the group, and tap Join Video Call to join the chat. 

There you have it! If you’d prefer to chat with more people at once, we’ve got tutorials on how to use group video calling on FaceTime, Snapchat and WhatsApp too.