Google Duo gets new Family Mode with doodles and masks

Google has announced another update to its video chatting app. Starting today, Google Duo now features a new Family Mode with fun things for kids, including the ability to doodle live during a video call. This makes it possible for one person to easily sketch an image for the other person and would be particularly fun for children who want to show off their art skills over a distance.

The new Family Mode also features fun masks that users can 'wear' during a call, including masks that make them look like astronauts and cats, among others. The Family Mode can be engaged by tapping the menu item after starting a video call, then tapping the 'Family' option. The app will hide the buttons while in this mode so that the call doesn't accidentally end.

You'll need to be signed in to your Google account in order to access the Family Mode, according to the company. In addition to using this new mode, Google says that Duo users can also access the masks and other effects in one-on-one calls — they're supported on both Android and iOS. The feature will be available to users starting this week.

The effects will kick off with one designed for Mother's Day, but Google says that it will be rolling out others. In addition to these changes, Google also plans to kick off a Chrome preview of group web calls. This feature will be available to everyone starting 'in coming weeks,' according to the company.

Google says that it has updated the layout for group calls that makes it easier for users to see more people during a video call. Beyond that, Google Duo users will also be able to easily invite Google accounts owners to group calls using links.