Google Duo gets new family mode with doodle support, expands group video calling to web

Google today announced more improvements to Duo. The company has been making rapid improvements to its video calling service as it has grown in popularity over the last few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Google is introducing a new family mode in Duo that will let you doodle and use fun effects to transform yourself into an astronaut, cat, and more while on group video calls. There are also a bunch of other effects along with a special Mother’s Day effect. When the family mode is activated, all other controls will automatically be hidden to avoid accidental hang-ups and mutes. The new masks and effects feature will also be available in one-on-one video calls.

In addition to the new effects, Google is expanding the availability of group video calling in Duo to the web. So far, only one-on-one calls were possible in Duo on the web but the company will roll out group video calling support in the coming weeks that will initially be available as a preview on Chrome. This will launch alongside a new layout for group video calls that will let you see more participants of the call at the same time. Lastly, users will be able to invite anyone with a Google account to join a group video call with just a link.

Some of the above mentioned features are rolling out starting this week, while others including group video calling on the web will roll out in the coming weeks.