Like all video chat apps, Google Duo is undergoing massive changes to compete during social distancing. Last month, the service increased its group chat limit to twelve people. Now Google is extension of Duo group chats on the web, adding link invitations to its platform and implementing a new family mode for its mobile application.
Google Duo Web application is still in its infancy. It is compatible with the Duo mobile app, but it only works with two-person cats. According to Google, the Duo web app will benefit from group chat support in the coming weeks, with early access for Chrome users.
In addition to the extended web support, Google is adding link invitations to the Duo platform. Link invitations, which you can copy and paste into text messages or group chats, save you from having to choose people from your contact list before a call. It also gives you the option to quickly invite friends to a group chat during calls. For reference, Google Meet (another Google video chat app) already supports link invitations and is currently free for all users.
And then there is the new Family Mode. Like Apple’s FaceTime app, Google Duo’s family mode lets you draw on the screen and apply fantasy effects and AR masks to your video stream. It is only available for individual calls, but should help families have engaging experiences while distancing themselves from society. Your “mute” and “end call” buttons disappear when family mode is activated, which should prevent you from accidentally hanging up on grandmother.
Video effects and AR masks will also work on regular individual Duo calls, starting with a terrifying AR mask for Mother’s Day. But it’s the best gift for Mother’s Day, right? Transmutation in flower?