Private, high quality video calling is critical when you can’t be together in person. Duo is end to end encrypted, and we’re constantly making optimizations to ensure your video calling experience is clear and uninterrupted. Duo already uses AI to reduce audio interruptions, and in the coming week, we’re rolling out a new video codec technology to improve video call quality and reliability, even on very low bandwidth connections.
The way we get together has changed, but we’re still making memories, whether it’s watching someone blow out their birthday candles on a video call, or video chatting with friends while cooking dinner. When you’re on a video call with another person, starting today you can quickly take a photo together to capture the moment on smartphones, tablets and Chromebooks, and share it automatically with everyone on the call. You'll be able to do this on group calls and on more devices soon.
Group calling is on the rise—in the past four weeks, we’re seeing eight times the number of group calls on Duo. On Android and iOS, we recently increased our group size to 12 participants (instead of 8), and in the coming weeks we plan to increase participants even further.
Duo makes it easy to send personalized video and voice messages when you can’t call. Over the past year, we’ve added even more ways to share a quick moment, from photos to simple notes with text or doodles. In the past few weeks, Duo users are sending 180 percent more messages, with an 800 percent increase in regions particularly impacted by social distancing. You can say “I miss you” or “I’m thinking of you” using one of our latest AR effects. And soon, you’ll have the option to automatically save your messages in Duo instead of having them expire after 24 hours, so it’s easier to preserve your meaningful messages.
Our new family mode lets you doodle on video calls for everyone to see and also surprise them with fun effects and masks that transform you into astronauts, cats and more. Just start a video call, tap the menu icon and then tap Family to get started. You don’t have to worry about accidental mutes or hang-ups because we’ve hidden those buttons while you’re playing together. This new family mode is available when signed into Duo with your Google account. As always, calls on Duo are end-to-end encrypted and stay private between you and your loved ones.
In addition to bringing masks and effects to our new family mode, we’re bringing them to any one-on-one video calls on Android and iOS—starting this week with a Mother’s Day effect. We’re also rolling out more effects and masks that help you express yourself, from wearing heart glasses to transforming into a flower.
In the coming weeks, you'll be able to make group calls with Duo on the web, starting as a preview on Chrome, alongside a new layout that lets you see more people at the same time. To make getting together easier, you’ll also be able to invite anyone with a Google account to join a group call with just a link.