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Google Duo's low light mode brightens your nighttime video calls

The company says the feature is aimed at users in developing nations.
Marc DeAngelis
August 19, 2019
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Following May's update that enabled eight-member video calls, the latest change to Google Duo allows users to better see each other in low lighting. Google cites homes in less affluent locations as the motivation behind this new feature. "In many places, electric lighting is a significant challenge... People often light their homes with a single bulb when electricity is expensive, and even then, power outages remain common in many areas," says Niklas Blum, Senior Product Manager for Google Duo.

Users can toggle low light mode, which senses poor lighting conditions and boosts the image's exposure to create a clearer video call. Details on how this is achieved are scarce, but Google does mention that results will differ based on the environment and the device being used. The update will be rolling out on iOS and Android this week. Google Duo is also available via Chrome, but it sounds like low light mode will be an app-exclusive feature.

Google has been heavily focused on improving low light image quality lately. The Night Sight camera mode featured in their Pixel phones is surprisingly powerful, capturing bright, sharp, and color-accurate photos without the need of firing the camera's flash. Google didn't say if Duo is using similar technology, but it's definitely looking to achieve the same effect here.

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