Discord delivers background noise-canceler as popularity surges

With Discord use surging during the COVID-19 outbreak, the VOIP and chat utility is rolling out an update that will cut down on background noise interfering with voice calls.

Discord announced the feature yesterday; it’s in beta for desktop versions of the Discord app, with mobile versions joining later. The background noise suppressor, developed in partnership with Krisp.ai, will block sounds from a vacuum cleaner, doors closing, or even a loud keyboard as users type on it during a chat.

The new feature comes as Discord reports daily usership increases, from January to April, ranging from 50% in the United States to almost 250% in Italy. France and Spain, other nations hit particularly hard by the novel coronavirus’ spread, have seen increases around 150 percent.

Discord said it has responded to the demand spike by expanding its Go Live service — which lets users stream or screen share apps to a private audience — from 10 users to 50 in a session. The company says it has also beefed up Discord’s capacity to deliver smoother service. The utility’s surging popularity briefly brought down several of its servers in mid-Marc, when Discord was reporting increases of 20%.

The noise suppression feature is accessed via a button found in any voice or video chat window. There’s also a global toggle on/off setting for Krisp in the settings menu, under App Settings:Voice and Video: Advanced: Noise Suppression.

Discord began life as a communication tool for video gaming communities, but Go Live has become particularly useful in academic and workplace settings with much of the public sequestering themselves in their homes.


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