Google Duo
Google Duo

These days people rely more on video calls and audio messages, due to the current situation and outbreak of COVID-19. These apps are experiencing a bit of issues such as low sound and video quality. Google recently announced WaveNetEQ, a new PLC system whose goal is to improve the audio quality of Google Duo’s calls.

How it works and transfer voice data?

This latest technology as noted on the Google AI blog, WaveNetEQ is a generative model based on company’s DeepMind WaveRNN technology that is capable of large amounts of voice data. This voice data helps the model realistically continue with short voice segments.

What this means is that during an online call, the data for these calls is divided into short snippets called packets. Therefore, during transmission of these “packets” from sender to receiver, these packets often arrive in the wrong order creating jitter related problems. The technology helps tackling such problems. According to Alphabet’s subsidiary, 99% of Google Duo calls deal with packet loss, excessive fluctuations, or network interruptions.

However, with WaveNetEQ, these problems are solved as the extensive data collection process helps to repair missing packets during transmission. This technology is adequate and can run successfully on a phone and also provides advanced audio quality. Duo is based on the open source project WebRTC and to hide the effects of packet loss, the NetEQ component of WebRTC uses “signal processing methods”, which can parse speech well and produce a smooth continuation that can work efficiently for loss of small packets.

They official statement said “To better manage packet loss, we replaced the NetEQ PLC component with a modified version of WaveRNN, a recurring neural network model for speech synthesis consisting of two parts, an auto-regressive network, and a conditioning network”. The role of an “auto-regressive network” is to maintain smooth signal flow while the “conditioning network” controls and impacts the auto-regressive network to produce audio consistency. Now google is practicing and experimenting with this technology. In addition, it is already available on Pixel 4 smartphones.

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