Amid the coronavirus pandemic, many are using video conferencing to work and learn remotely. For Google, its Meet service is seeing the brunt of use by enterprise and education customers. Classic Hangouts was updated on iOS today with a warning that video quality might be reduced.
While any free Google Account can join a Meet call, only enterprise customers have the ability to start new meetings. In comparison, classic Hangouts is fully available for regular users.
Release notes for Hangouts 33.0 — a jump from version 27.1 in March — on iOS specify that “Video Quality may now decrease if the server load increases.” The App Store listing also specifies “Miscellaneous bug fixes” and “Removed dependencies on UIWebView APIs.”
Unlike the web, the mobile apps have never let you change video quality manually. Adjustments were presumably handled automatically in the background. For comparison, there are options online to adjust outgoing (360p SD or 720p HD) and incoming video, with it possible to disable the latter feed entirely.
The phrasing today implies a recent change for the classic Hangouts service. With Meet, Google has yet to describe any changes to account for a surge in traffic. In fact, the company has been touting the increased usage with metrics like Meet seeing of 2 billion minutes of video calling per day, and 25x usage compared to January with day-over-day growth surpassing 60%. Meanwhile, Duo — what Google wants regular people to use — in March expanded group calling from eight users to 12.
Late last month, Google said its systems can “handle the load” of coronavirus-related traffic. It’s “increasing capacity wherever needed” and making sure downtime is limited during incidents.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.