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Google adds voice and video calls to the Gmail app on iPhone and iPad


Gmail adds voice and video calls
Download the update today to start chatting.
Screenshots: Google

You can now place calls and join remote meetings from right inside the Gmail app on iPhone and iPad.

Google Chat integration, with support for both voice and video calls, has been added in the app’s latest update. But it comes with one big limitation that means you’ll probably still need to keep the Google Chat app.

Videoconferencing app usage still far higher than it was pre-COVID


Zoom 5.0 brings much-needed security enhancements hoping to end Zoombombing.
Remember the days before everyone was Zooming?
Photo: Zoom/Cult of Mac

Many parts of the world are starting to open up again as the pandemic (hopefully) continues to subside. But video-conferencing apps, possibly the app category most associated with COVID-times, continue to ascend.

According to data from app analytics platform Sensor Tower, collective monthly active users of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet continued their surge in the first half of 2021. Usage was collectively 21x higher during the first half of 2019 than it was prior to the pandemic.

Google Meet adding blurred backgrounds, images, and other new features


Google Meet 1
Google Meet's new features will help it to better take on Zoom.
Photo: Google Meet

Thanks to people working from home and coronavirus lockdown, 2020 has been the year of videoconferencing apps — and Google Meet is adding a few new features to try and take on rival Zoom.

According to a new report from 9to5Google, Google Meet is working on new features that will allow users to add images or blur the background of their video calls. This is a feature that already exists for Zoom and Skype users, although this will be the first time it’s available on Google meet.

Google Meet goes free to tackle Zoom’s lockdown dominance


Google Meet 1
From live transcription to 100-person support, Google Meets is packed with features.
Photo: Google Meet

To lend a helping hand during coronavirus lockdown, Google Wednesday announced that it will be making its premium videoconferencing service Google Meet free to users starting in the next few weeks.

Google Meet is the business-oriented version of Google Hangouts. It supports up to 100 callers with no time limits on conversations, making it a good enterprise-focused video chat tool. While normally Google Meet comes with a price tag attached, it’s now free to all Google users through September 30.