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March 8, 2018

Are they not picking up? Now you can leave a video message with Google Duo

by John_A

Google is updating its video calling app, Google Duo, to make it a little more useful for situations in which you can’t reach the other person. Now, if you video call someone and they don’t pick up the phone, you have the option of leaving a video message — kind of like a video voicemail.

According to a blog post from Google, you will be able to leave messages of up to 30 seconds and once you’re done, you can send the message to the other party. They will then be able to see the message within the Google Duo app. If you get a video message for yourself, you will be able to play it back by simply tapping on their icon, after which you can tap the “Call Now” button to return their call.

The new feature is nice and while it doesn’t really change the core functionality of the app, it does mean that you will be able to share a moment with your friends and family regardless of whether or not they pick up the phone. Like standard Duo video calls, video messages are encrypted and secure.

The new feature will start rolling out to Duo users on both Android and iOS starting Tuesday, March 6, and Google says it will be available worldwide within a few days.

The new feature is nice, but not unexpected. 9to5Google found references to the video calling feature in a recent app teardown and even managed to activate it for itself. It also found a few other new features. For example, the website found a revamped screen-sharing interface, which involves a small pill-shaped interface that allows users to start screen-sharing, pause it, and then end it. Next up is “Guest Mode,” which the report found allows users to use Google Duo without an actual account. All the user would need is a phone number.

In general, we expect to see more features added to both Duo and Allo, Google’s text messaging service. We are not quite sure if the apps have been adopted as heavily as Google might have liked — Google launched countless messaging apps over the years and they haven’t all been popular.

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