Zoom video communication service is now top-rated, and the number of its users is only increasing despite many security problems that the service has. Thanks to this success of Zoom, the old-timers of the market, Microsoft and Google, have become more active.

Earlier this month, Microsoft offered free video conferencing without registration and need to install anything as part of the Skype Meet Now service. Moreover, in the next update, Skype has adopted another very demanded functionality that Zoom has – the ability to replace the real background with an image from the Internet. Due to the popularity of this feature, many video services now make the same backgrounds for video calls.

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Skype update for Windows, macOS, Linux, and the web version was released on April 16, but by now, it is not available to everyone. The interesting thing is that the desktop version of Skype for Windows, distributed through the Skype website, received the feature of changing the background, but the version for Windows 10 distributed through the Microsoft Store did not. The latter only supports the background blur, which was added a year ago.

As for Google Meet, the search giant has also released a significant update to its video conferencing service for corporate users G Suite so far. And Google also borrowed ideas from Zoom.

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Google Meet has added a new mode for displaying video conference participants in a 4x4 grid. Earlier, only four interlocutors were displayed simultaneously in the Google Meet video chat window. With the introduction of the new mode, it became possible to see a maximum of 16 participants at the same time. For comparison, Zoom allows you to display 49 people in one window at the same time. Furthermore, Microsoft Teams has recently added a mode to display nine participants at a time.

Also, Google Meet demonstrated individual Chrome tabs, a special night mode for improving the image using AI in Low-light mode, which is currently only available on mobile devices, and a noise reduction function. The latter will be available to users of G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education on a PC in the coming weeks, and then its support will appear on mobile devices.

Google also released an update for a leading app in video chatting – Google Duo. In essence, it brought support for the AV1 video codec (a successor to VP9). It provides higher stability and image quality even at low connection speeds and a new photo mode for Duo to take joint photos with those you talk to.

Besides, Google promised to soon increase the maximum number of participants in group video calls even more – last month, the limit was raised from 8 to 12 people.