Google’s video chat app got new features this week. No, the other one. No, the other other one.
In a Friday blog post, Google announced some snazzy new features for Duo, one of its three video chat services. Let’s get this out of the way early: Duo is the one that’s mobile-friendly and resembles FaceTime more than Hangouts and Meet.
The new features make more sense with that in mind. Google added something called “Family Mode” to Duo, in which you can draw silly little doodles on the video feed, presumably to amuse the little ones on the call. There are also AR effects you can use on one-on-one calls on Android and iOS, similar to those available on Facebook’s video calls.
Here’s where things really get redundant: Google is adding web group video calls to Duo “in the coming weeks.” That means all three of Google’s video chat apps will have that feature.
Folks will be able to invite others to the call by just sending a URL, which is becoming standard in video apps such as Zoom and Facebook’s Messenger Rooms. Google Duo allows 16 people in a group video chat.
Google Hangouts is still around as the default free video chat service for small groups of people. Recently, Google launched a free version of its business-focused Google Meet app as a way to take on the ascendant Zoom. It accommodates much larger groups (as many as 100 callers) and has screen-sharing features.