In recent months, Google has prioritized the development of its video communication products as the demand for social distance solutions continues to increase in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the much-publicized step of making Google Meet Free to All Callers, today the company has released updates for Google Duo that extends the app's augmented reality camera effects to one-to-one video calling for iOS and Android .
The update is now being rolled out to iOS and Android. Once the app is updated, the AR effects can be found under the overflow menu during an ongoing video call. To commemorate this occasion, Google has added a special Mother's Day effect so that sons and daughters can reach their mom this weekend.
Prior to the update, Duo gave users the ability to record and send video messages with a limited, rotating selection of AR effects, similar to those made popular by Snapchat and Facebook. The same effects have now been extended to video calls.
Previously, only Google Pixel devices supported AR effects in Duo video calls through the last feature drop. Dubbed Duo Effects, the animoji-like virtual facial masks that reflect the user's facial expressions, seem to remain exclusive to Pixel smartphones, as those effects, including dragon, fish and robot masks, are not available in the app for other Android devices, much less on iOS.
In addition, Google has unveiled a new family mode, which simplifies the user interface to prevent accidental mute and hang, while adding a doodle feature that allows callers to draw on the screen.
"While physical separation has been difficult for all of us, Google Duo makes it easier to let family know how much we miss them, show off our latest artwork, and just act silly together like we would personally," said Humberto Castaneda , product manager for Google Duo, in a blog post.
Last month, Google Duo updated with improved video call quality, expanded group calling capability, and the introduction of a new photo capture tool for use in video calling.
With the addition of AR support in video calling, Google is catching up with Snapchat and Facebook Messenger, as well as Apple's FaceTime platform, all of which have already supported AR effects in their video calling and can provide the tools in group conversations.
And AR has served as a revenue stream for Snapchat and Facebook with sponsored securities. Even Facebook's Portal line of smart video devices, with its family-friendly AR effects, has become a popular seller in our times of social distance.
While Duo is not the household name of its competitors' apps, with the apps installed Since it is the default video calling app pre-installed on many Android devices and its cross-platform capabilities, Duo cannot be overlooked are seen as a serious competitor in the growing mobile AR field.
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