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Leaked photos reveal group calling and low light mode might come to Google Duo

Published Dec 31st, 2018 4:05PM EST
Google Duo group calling
Image: Google

One of the more interesting storylines out of Google in 2018 was the continued fractured nature of the company’s overall strategy when it comes to messaging apps and platforms.

Whereas Apple has the simplicity of iMessage, and Facebook has successful standalone apps like WhatsApp and Messenger, Google’s attempts at presenting consumers with messaging tools continued to remain hampered by a seeming lack of simplicity and too many choices, none of which were good enough in and of themselves. As 2018 comes to a close, however, the company has slowly begun to rectify this — with the company’s video chat app Google Duo emerging as something of a success, now that it’s hit 1 billion downloads on the Play Store.

What’s more, according to the folks at Android Police, it looks some some new useful features are being tested and may be coming soon to the app, such as a low-light mode as well as group calling.

It looks like the new group calling feature will support as many as eight people total (including you), with a “Create a Group” option allowing users to choose who to add to the call and even letting you give the group a name. Once the call starts, though, it would appear that that’s it — no more additions can be made at that point, at least according to this early look.

Meanwhile, there are also reports out today that a low-light mode — similar to how this feature works in other apps — could likewise be on the way to Google Duo. As noted by 9to5Google, Duo would show the user a message in a dark environment that prompts them to switch on this mode. It then claims to “automatically [adjust] your video in dark environments so others can see you better.”

Google Duo — which was first announced back in 2016, so it’s still relatively new — hit the 1 billion downloads mark on the Play Store shortly before Christmas. This stands in distinct contrast to the fate of another Google messaging property, Allo, which as we reported in recent months is in the process of being wound down by Google on an account of a lack of user interest.

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Andy Meek Trending News Reporter

Andy Meek is a reporter who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming. Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.