Back in March, Google unveiled audio-calling in Duo but limited it to users in Brazil. At the time of the announcement it promised to bring the feature to the rest of the world "in the coming days," but the global rollout took a little longer than expected. Nearly three weeks later, it's finally arrived. To make an audio call, simply switch the toggle at the top of the screen from video to audio. Like video calling, audio calls works over cellular and Wi-Fi, and is meant to be used "in those moments when video calling isn't an option--like when you're about to hop on a crowded bus or have a poor network connection."
If you've been thinking about whether to pick up a Chromecast Audio to make your audio setup a little smarter, you should probably make your mind up quickly. Google has confirmed it's discontinuing the device. "Our product portfolio continues to evolve, and now we have a variety of products for users to enjoy audio," a spokesperson told 9 to 5 Google. "We have therefore stopped manufacturing our Chromecast Audio products. We will continue to offer assistance for Chromecast Audio devices, so users can continue to enjoy their music, podcasts and more."
Google announced Thursday it bought the Swedish company Limes Audio, which develops technology to improve voice communication systems. The acquisition of Limes Audio will help Google offer better online voice quality for customers that use its video conferencing programs, powered by Chromebox for Meetings and Google Hangouts. Google says it's "critical" that the company provides "a great audio experience" and admitted that one of the biggest challenges to having seamless video meetings is the audio quality. "With G Suite customers now relying on video communications for their day-to-day meetings, it's more important than ever to ensure low-cost, high-quality audio," said Google in a blog post. Limes Audio, which was founded a decade ago, said it was "excited" about the recent move.
After finding success in releasing a standalone video-calling app, Google is updating Duo to include an audio-only calling feature. The Mountain View giant announced the new feature is going live in Brazil first before it can make its way to other parts of the world in the coming days. On Wednesday, Google VP for Product Management Mario Queiroz wrote on Google's The Keyword blog that the barely 1-year-old Duo is getting an audio-only calling feature. The decision to introduce the common phone feature was propelled by Google's intention of catering to users who may not have access to stable network connection to do video calling. Queiroz noted that because the audio calling feature does not eat up data, it will work well on any type of connection speed and will also help users remain connected with their family and friends even when video calling isn't possible.
With Artificial Intelligence making an impact in all aspects of our lives, smart homes are the next big thing. It has been operational for a while now with mobile phones and apps acting as remote controls for many of our appliances. Now, AI's involvement will be amplified as it enters our lives through audio and gesture sensing along with a rapid learning curve. There are a plethora of apps out there to turn on and turn off certain devices with audio or text commands. There are also security systems using advanced sensing techniques.