Google Gives Duo Users New Video Message Filters & AR Effects

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Google is rolling out new filters and effects to its Duo video messaging and chat application, giving users a brand new set of ways to express themselves. The company has now added new filters and effects, including a couple of AR-based face effects in the app.

The recently spotted change arrives alongside the update to version 63 of the app. The new features are stacked behind new icons to the interface. Specifically, they appear in a carousel at the bottom of the UI when either the effects or filters icon is selected in Duo. All users need to do is select either, then choose one of the available options to apply it.

Tapping on the record button saves a video message to be sent, as always.


What are the new Google Duo effects and filters?

Users who receive the update will notice a new welcome message, prompting them to try out the “new effects” by swiping down to record a message. The implication of that is that they only work with recording video messages and not in video chats — for now. That could change in the future so that video calls are included.

The features can be split into three categories, although Google only uses two. Those are face effects, overall effects, and filters.

The former is self-explanatory and includes objects such as glasses and cat ears. Those attach to the user’s face and remain in place as long as the AI recognizes a face.

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The second category is filled with effects that work more like frames. In fact, some of them are frames, placing the user’s face inside of a piece of wall art or a window frame. But some of the frames go further to simply recolor the entire in-frame capture and overlay text or objects. For instance, one recolors the scene with an indigo hue and adds jellyfish. Another features floating hearts while a third scrolls the words “I MISS YOU” down the screen.

Finally, filters are available that recolor the entire scene with visual effects and distortions. A black and white mode, in addition to a lens flare and several other options, is available behind the filter icon.

As might be expected, the filter icon is the standard three overlapping gradient dots icon. The effects are hidden behind a click on a face-shaped icon.


Rolling out now, so what’s next?

The changes are associated with the Google Duo app version 63 but may not arrive exactly at the same time. That’s because this is primarily being added via a server-side update. So it might not show up immediately upon updating but will arrive soon enough now that the rollout has started.

As outlined above, there aren’t exactly a plethora of options to choose from initially. In that sense, Google appears to be following a similar trend as can be seen with its other AR and camera features as well as dozens of other apps. From Google, they most closely resemble the stickers available for some Android devices under the “Playground” branding. If that’s the case, more AR face effects, overall effects, and frames, as well as filters should be released at a relatively stead clip going forward.

The search giant hasn’t provided details about any timeframe for that, but the current expectation is that more will follow.