Google has reportedly extended its October holiday updates with a new set of effects in its video chat and messaging app Duo for Halloween and Diwali. The effects work in both chats and video messages, making the app just a bit more festive. They're also easy to use.
As with the other AR effects added earlier this month, Google places them under the aptly-titled "Effects" icon. That takes its place alongside "Filters" to the right-hand side of the UI during a call. The UI occupies the same space after a user swipes down to record a video message. While those other effects were fairly standard for messaging and photo apps though, Google is much more focused on the two holidays this time.
Users can choose between three AR overlays depending on their mood. The first effectively turns the user into a scarecrow, complete with straw, a patchy hat, and stitches.
There's a jack-o-lantern in the effect too, just in case it wasn't Fall- and Halloween-themed enough. The second Halloween effect is more direct and changes the background to resemble a haunted house.
For those celebrating the Hindu Diwali holiday, Google is providing the option to have some moving sparkles. A sparkler spells out the words "Happy Diwali" in "front" of the user.
Users shouldn't need to update anything to get the new effects either. Instead, they appear to be rolling out on the server-side as an update to the previously mentioned features. So they should be available over the next day or two at most wherever they will be made available.
Halloween effects go well beyond the Duo app for 2019
The addition of Halloween effects to Duo will ensure users don't have to break out their costumes early to show their holiday spirit in video calls or messages. The same holds true for the new Diwali animation. But that's not the only product Google is using to bring home the spooky fun. More directly, Google or Nest Home speaker users can now create a much more appropriate atmosphere using those devices.
That's a tradition at this point for the home speakers. All that's needed to start up some Halloween music and a related display on a Home-linked TV is for users to prompt their device and say "Get Spooky." But smart displays and even connected doorbells are getting in on the fun for 2019.
Through "Early November," Nest Hello doorbells will now play a Halloween tone instead of a standard ringer if users choose to turn on those features. The choices are a bit more varied for those devices than Duo too. Google is offering ringers for a cackling witch, a ghost, a vampire, or a "scary monster."
For the upcoming holidays?
Google hasn't added in any additional effects just yet for its Duo app but there's plenty of reason to believe Halloween and Diwali aren't the only ones incoming either. Namely, the new doorbell effects also include those for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, and Generic winter sounds.
Google has also said it will activate and deactivate those for the doorbells as the seasons change. So it wouldn't be surprising for Google to eventually add AR filters and effects for those apps as well.
The exact reach of these server-side updates isn't immediately clear since Google hasn't detailed exact regions or offered an announcement. They are available in both the U.S. and U.K. and will undoubtedly be available anywhere either of the two holidays is celebrated.