Category Archives for Product Updates

Improving Caller Privacy on Gruveo

Since its launch more than 10 years ago, Gruveo has been primarily a peer-to-peer video calling service. Whenever possible, one-on-one calls were established directly. Only if there was a particularly restrictive firewall would the call get routed via one of our TURN relay servers. (It's important to note that even in that case, the call would remain encrypted end-to-end.)

Peer-to-peer connections have a drawback, however. A sufficiently tech-savvy person could delve into the browser's internals to determine the other party's IP address and, consequently, their approximate geographical location—usually the city they're in.

Although this is not a critical privacy issue in itself, this drawback concerned us enough to prompt a change: routing all one-on-one Gruveo calls through TURN servers. The transition process started earlier this year and is now fully complete.

Here is how TURN routing is a net positive for all Gruveo users:

  • Instead of the other party's IP address, the curious tech-savvy user on a one-on-one call will only see the IP of the TURN server in the browser logs.
  • The end-to-end encryption of one-on-one calls on Gruveo stays intact. The relay server is not able to decode the video and audio content.
  • Gruveo has relay infrastructure in key points around the globe. This ensures a smooth calling experience with minimal latency, regardless of who you're calling.

Calls with three or more participants, as well as any recorded one-on-one calls, have been concealing the participants' IPs all along. This is because these calls are already routed through our SFU servers.

With the additional routing of one-on-one calls via TURN, we are now making your IP address safe across all of your Gruveo conversations.

If you have questions about Gruveo's privacy and security, check out our Privacy Policy for details and don't hesitate to get in touch.

New Recording Layout, IP Blocking and Other New Features

Over the past several months, we continued to improve Gruveo and bring new features to the web and mobile apps. This post summarizes the awesome new functionality that we have recently rolled out.

The "Follow My Screen" Recording Layout

Prior to the arrival of the new layout, you've had an option of either maximizing the active speaker on your Gruveo recordings ("Maximized active speaker"), or presenting all of the participants' videos in titles of approximately the same size ("Tiled"). The new "Follow my screen" layout looks a lot like "Maximized active speaker" but it dynamically maximizes whatever participant you have maximized on your own screen during the call.

This new layout is ideal for when you'd like to record a screen sharing presentation delivered via Gruveo and want to ensure that your screen always stays maximized on the recording. Here is how to do it:

  1. Switch to the "Follow my screen" layout in your recording settings prior to the call
  2. During the call:

For as long as you have your own screen share maximized on your video call screen, it will be maximized on the recording, too.

Redirect to a Custom URL after a Gruveo Call

We have introduced the new optional endurl parameter to Gruveo call links that you can use to redirect the caller to a custom page after the call ends. Here is an example permanent link with this parameter:

When you customer clicks that link, they will be redirected to the Google website after the Gruveo call finishes. The endurl parameter works for permanent Gruveo links as well as room ones.

This new feature is perfect for the following use cases:

  • Redirecting your callers to a custom survey at the end of the call
  • Gruveo implementations in kiosks: Redirecting your callers back to the kiosk's start page after the Gruveo call finishes.

Close the Gruveo Button Pop-Up after the Call

We have added an option to the Call Button builder to automatically close the Gruveo pop-up after the call finishes. Check this box and paste the new HTML code on your page to have your Gruveo button pop-ups close by themselves:

The call button pop-up can now automatically close after the call.

Caller Blocking by IP Address

In addition to blocking unwanted callers by country, you can now block them by the IP address mask in the form of Head to your Caller Blocking page to specify the masks you wish to block:

You can now block unwanted callers by their IP address mask.

The Call Log page in your account now displays the masked IP addresses of the callers, too. Click a masked IP to go to the Caller Blocking page with that mask pre-populated for addition to the blocking list.

Call Queueing Support in the iOS App

The recently released version 6.4 of our iOS app adds support for call queueing. Just like in the web and Android versions of Gruveo, you get notified when a new caller joins the queue, can add the first caller in the queue to the current call, and more.

We hope you will enjoy these new Gruveo features! If you have any questions or need help using them, don't hesitate to drop us a line.

More Control Over Your Callers' Experience

We are glad to announce two new Gruveo features that put you in even better control of your customers' experience when calling your permanent links.

The first one has to do with how long an unanswered call can ring before it's automatically ended. Up till now, calls would ring indefinitely and the ringing would stop only with the caller canceling the call. Even though the caller would then still see the Text Mail screen and be able to leave you a message, we learned that indefinite ringing was not ideal for many of our customers.

With the latest update, Gruveo now lets you choose for how long you want your unanswered calls to ring. Head on to the "Permanent Links" page in your account and check out the "Ringing timeout" setting. It lets you choose between 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes as well as the original "Indefinite" default. Click "Save changes" to make the new timeout stick:

Use the "Ringing timeout" setting to define for how long you want unanswered calls to ring.

The second feature lets you set a custom prompt for the "Leave a message" screen that your callers see when you are not available to answer the call. You can now display your own text to inform the customers of your schedule or provide any other information before inviting them to leave a Text Mail for you. To set a custom prompt, head on to the "Permanent Links" page, enter your prompt in the "Text Mail prompt" box and save the changes:

You can now enter a custom Text Mail prompt in your account settings.

Your custom prompt is then shown to callers when you are unable to answer the call:

The Text Mail screen displays your custom prompt.

Enjoy these new features - more to come!

Virtual Backgrounds Come to Gruveo

The pandemic has dramatically changed the way we work. Working from home became the new norm, and with it, new challenges arose. One of them is meeting with clients: How do you work at your kitchen table and still look professional in those video meetings?

Today, we are happy to announce a beta rollout of virtual backgrounds in the Gruveo web app. This new feature uses sophisticated machine learning technology to dynamically blur your video background or replace it with a custom image. Applying a virtual background to your outgoing video is currently supported in all desktop browsers with the exception of Safari.

Setting a virtual background in Gruveo is easy. Head on to your account dashboard and click "Virtual Background". The new Virtual Background screen lets you set a blur effect on your background, or upload up to 10 custom images to replace it with. Click "Save changes" to apply your settings.

The new Virtual Background page in the account dashboard lets you set a custom video background in Gruveo.

The background effect you have chosen will apply any time you use Gruveo in a computer browser. When calling from a mobile device (including our mobile apps), Gruveo will use an unchanged picture from your camera. We're working on bringing virtual backgrounds to mobile, too.

We hope that this new Gruveo feature will help you stay productive no matter where you choose to work, be it home, office or anything in between. Enjoy!

Selfie Mode in the Web App, Account Time Zone and More

We are happy to announce a new update to the Gruveo web app that adds a number of great new features.

First, you can now use Selfie Mode in browser calls. If you are a plumber and a customer is calling to show you a leak, they can now tap their video preview to make it full screen and ensure that every little detail is visible to you. Likewise, if you are selling physical goods, you can take advantage of Selfie Mode to make sure your product looks its best on the other end of the call.

Own video preview in the Gruveo web app is now draggable, too – just like in our mobile apps. You can drag and place it in any of the four screen corners during a call, and Gruveo will remember the position of the preview between your calls.

Finally, you now can set an account-wide time zone in Gruveo. The account time zone is used for displaying all dates and times in your account as well as the notification emails (bye-bye, UTC times in the "missed call" messages!). To set the time zone, simply head on to your Gruveo account settings.

The new release also features a great deal of fixes and optimizations under the hood. Enjoy!