For the past few weeks, even though I haven’t seen many of my loved ones in person, we’re still keeping in touch. Daily catch-ups with mom, weekend happy hours with friends, a birthday party with people who live all over the country. And it's all happening on Google Duo, our video calling product. That's the case for many people these days–in fact, every week, over 10 million new people are signing up for Duo, and in many countries, call minutes have increased by more than ten-fold. Here are a few new features to help you feel close to friends and family even when you’re apart.
Make secure, reliable callsPrivate, 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.
Side by side comparison of an incoming video call at 30kbps with our new AV1 (AOMedia Video 1) video codec technology on the left.
Capture special and everyday momentsThe 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.
Bring more people together on your video calls
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.
Let someone know you’re thinking of themDuo 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.
With Google Duo, you can make high quality calls to anyone in your contact list in just a few taps across Android, iOS, tablets, web browsers on Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS, or even smart speakers and smart displays like the Nest Hub Max. We hope these features help you feel closer to your friends and family even if you can’t be physically together.