Google started rolling out a new update for the Google Duo Android app a few days back, bringing its stable build up to the version 16 and introducing a variety of features and improvements to its popular video calling service for smartphones. One of the most noticeable additions shipping with the Google Duo build 16 is full support for Notification Channels, one of the hallmark features of Android O, Google's next major iteration of its operating system which is set to hit the stable channel later today. The functionality allows you granular control over notifications sent by Google Duo and is a significant upgrade compared to the app-wide notification settings in Android Nougat. Much like the Gmail app, Google Duo implemented support for Notification Channels by replacing its dedicated Notifications menu with a link to the system settings page for all notifications. The currently supported channels are those for Google Duo updates, contact updates, calls, and special events and topics, though the behavior of the main calling notification can still be modified without leaving the app.
The aforementioned special events and topics are a new feature of Google Duo that's meant to provide you with recommendations on when to use the app, according to the company's own description of the functionality. The Mountain View, California-based tech giant didn't elaborate on the matter any further and there are still no sightings of this mechanic working in practice, though the option of disabling it is already present, both through Notification Channels and the app's own settings page on devices running some build of Android Nougat. The Alphabet-owned company also started experimenting with a slightly redesigned user interface as part of the new update, though the UI isn't expected to appear for all users. Its changes include slightly repositioned icons and a draggable Audio/Video toggle, both of which can be seen in the gallery below.
Google Duo's newly added support for Notification Channels will be usable by all owners of the Pixel and Pixel XL that are set to receive a stable build of Android O in a matter of hours, with compatible Nexus devices being expected to get the same update in the coming days.