Google Duo announces new features to make staying at home more bearable

Online communication has become even more vital these days due to social distancing and restrictions on travel. Instant messaging and video calling services have seen a sudden and gigantic spike in users and usage and they have been quick to roll out features to accommodate the sudden burst of activity. Following that trend, Google Duo is announcing a few new treats for users of its video chat service along with promises of more to come soon.

The number of video calls going through Google Duo and over the Internet has exponentially increased in the past few weeks and some of them even involve more sensitive business or personal matters. Google Duo is already using end-to-end encryption and in the coming weeks it will be rolling out a new technology designed to improve quality and reliability even when your connection isn't.

Many people have also flocked to video conferencing services to make social group calls or work team meetings but not all services are created equal. The most popular one even proved to also be the least secure, causing an almost global reaction to its security and privacy flaws. Google says you don't have to go far to get your group video chat going. Although it already increased its group size to 12, Google Duo will expand that again in the coming weeks.

Some calls are intimate, though, and can sometimes be once in a lifetime moments. To capture these memories for posterity, Google Duo now lets you take a still photo that automatically gets sent to both parties in the call. The one caveat is that it only works on one-to-one calls on smartphones but Google promises it will come to group calls and other devices soon enough.

And when the other party isn't even able to receive your call, you can still send them more than just a photo to show that you care. Google Duo has always had the option to send video messages but now it will allow users to save those thoughtful clips rather than have them disappear 24 hours after seeing them. These features and more are Google Duo's way to help ease the stress of not being able to socialize and give people fewer reasons to risk going out to connect with family and friends.