Google Photos updated with faster backup and sharing, Duo adds audio-only mode

With a focus on parts of the world that have slower connectivity, Google updated Photos today to have faster backup and sharing, while the Duo video chatting app received an audio-only mode.

Faster initial backup and image sharing in Photos is achieved by Google first uploading a “lightweight preview” of pictures when on slower connections, like 2G. Once on a better network, the high-quality version will be backed up to permanently replace the low-resolution copy. Future clicks on the share URL will also show the full image.

Given their recent advancements in data and image compression, Google notes that the lightweight preview quality still “looks great” on smartphones. The backup and sharing changes are rolling out starting today on iOS.

Aimed at situations where there is a poor network connection, Duo will now allow users to make audio-only calls. Google notes that audio calls work “well on all connection speeds” and is data efficient.

This feature will be accessible by swiping down on the main screen of the app and switching between the video/audio toggle. Sliding towards the latter setting brings up a screen where users can start a call. This feature is launching in Brazil starting today, with the rest of the world seeing it in the next few days on iOS.

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