Google Duo can help you stay in touch with new features

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With a lot of people choosing to follow shelter-in-place orders rather than risk spreading or getting the coronavirus, some have to sacrifice spending time with loved ones in real life. This is the time when we all the more realize the importance of all these digital products that let us stay in touch while practicing physical distancing. Google’s video calling app Google Duo is introducing a few new features that should make it easier to connect with family and friends.

If you didn’t know it yet, Duo is end to end encrypted so you don’t have to worry about someone else listening in on your video calls. They are also now rolling out a new video codec technology that will still give you good quality calls even if you’re on a low bandwidth connection. They are also now increasing the number of participants that can join a video call. Previously, only up to 8 can be in a video call but now it can be up to 12 participants.

If you would like to capture your video call moment through a photo, you will now be able to do so quickly with a snapshot feature. When you take the still photo, it will be sent automatically as well to the person you’re talking to. For now, it’s only available for one-to-one calls on smartphones but Google says they will bring it to group calls and to more devices as well. We’ll see a lot of these screenshots probably in the next few weeks as people want to commemorate video interaction through photos.

You can already send video and voice messages through Duo if you can’t make a video call at the moment. It’s another way to tell someone you’re thinking of them or if you need to send a special greeting or message. Previously, these messages would expire after 24 hours but now you can save them on the app for posterity’s sake. You can still add the usual text, doodles, and stickers to make it more fun.

Update your Google Duo to the latest version to start enjoying these new features. While you can use it for business-related video calls, it’s built more for the personal kind so you won’t find much productivity features here.

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