A new version of Duo is making the rounds with some interesting changes both on the surface and behind the scenes. There are some visual tweaks that bring a slightly updated look to Duo, and an option was removed from settings. Sadly, it looks like screen sharing may be dead for the foreseeable future. And if you're interested in scoring some rewards in trade for signing friends up to Duo, you'll have something to look forward to.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog: (the stuff we found)

  • Updated Material Theme
  • Removed: 'Vibrate while ringing' toggle

Updated Material Theme

Left: v37. Right: v38.

Last week saw updates to the Phone and Contacts apps, bringing refreshed Material Theme styles to both. While the changes aren't quite as dramatic, they can be seen in the new version of Duo. The title bar has been allowed to keep its color (for now), but the pill-shaped search field has been turned into a rounded rectangle, and contacts without pictures are now drawn with the now standard pastel color palette. The system navigation bar also went white.

Vibrate while ringing

Left: v37. Right: v38.

Google has a long history of removing features that aren't in use, and that's likely what has happened here. After updating, you'll no longer see an option in Settings to toggle 'vibrate while ringing.' While the option has disappeared, it doesn't mean the effect has – incoming calls still cause your phone to vibrate, there's just no option to turn that off anymore. Since the setting was enabled by default, and most people probably wouldn't have turned it off, this probably won't impact very many people.


Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information. It's possible that the guesses made here are wrong or inaccurate. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that products could change or may be canceled. Much like rumors, nothing is certain until it's officially announced and released.

The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk. All screenshots and images are real unless otherwise stated, and images are only altered to remove personal information.

Screen sharing may not be coming back

Screen sharing may have been one of the single greatest features Duo could have added, but it looks like it may have been cancelled. After several months of development, screen sharing experienced a failed launch back in May. The feature was quickly disabled remotely, but after a few versions had gone by, it still had not reappeared.

Sadly, it now looks like screen sharing may not be making a triumphant return. Every last line of text relating to screen sharing has been pulled.

Removed strings
<string name="screen_sharing_notification_title">Duo screensharing</string>
<string name="screen_sharing_notification_message">You are sharing your screen</string>
<string name="screen_sharing_notification_pause_action">Pause</string>
<string name="screen_sharing_notification_resume_action">Start sharing</string>
<string name="screen_sharing_notification_stop_action">Stop sharing</string>
<string name="toggle_screensharing">Start or stop screen sharing</string>
<string name="screen_sharing_overlay_permission_dialog_title">Allow display over other apps</string>
<string name="screen_sharing_overlay_permission_dialog_message">To screenshare, allow Duo to display on top of other apps.</string>
<string name="screen_sharing_overlay_permission_missing_toast">Can\'t screenshare. To share, allow display over other apps.</string>
<string name="screen_sharing_stopped_toast_text">Screensharing stopped</string>
<string name="paused_screen_sharing_notification_message">Screensharing paused</string>

It's certainly possible this is a temporary move while development continues in the background, but it's not looking good.

Follow-up: Referral rewards

The v37 update to Duo came with a few lines of text that demonstrated there was a plan to introduce a reward system for successfully inviting friends to join. With the latest update, there's now enough information to fill in some of the details.

It appears that there are actually two types of rewards, likely depending on the circumstances. The first form rewards can come in is a data credit with a user's carrier. Basically, Google will cover the cost for some amount of your data usage with your carrier. Both MB and GB are shown as units of measure, so there may be different offers planned with different carriers, or perhaps all offers are in MB and the GB is there in case users amass quite a few referrals.

The second reward type is even more interesting. Google will also offer to pay out real money through Tez for accumulating referrals. In case you're not familiar, Tez is a payment service designed specifically for India, though it may expand to other markets in the future. The money can be withdrawn, sent to other Tez users, or used to pay some bills.

Reward text
<string name="rewards_invitor_redeem_body_text_cash">As a thank you for bringing a friend to Duo, you get %1$s! Tap “%2$s” to redeem.</string>
<string name="rewards_info_card_title_data">Free %s mobile data when friends join</string>
<string name="rewards_info_card_description_data">You both get %s when friends use your link to join Duo. This special offer is valid for a limited time!</string><string name="rewards_invite_message_tez">Hi! Join Google Duo and video call me. Sign up with this link to get %1$s in Tez. %2$s</string>
<string name="rewards_invite_message_data">Hi! We can both get %1$s free if you use this link to sign up for Google Duo 😃😃😃 It\'s an app for high quality video calls %2$s</string>

<string name="rewards_get_reward_notification_button_text">GET REWARD</string>
<string name="rewards_invitee_joined_notification_content">To redeem your %s, open Google Duo 🎉</string>

<string name="rewards_invitor_redeem_successful_header">Congrats! %s redeemed</string>
<string name="rewards_keep_inviting_to_earn">Keep earning by inviting more friends to Google Duo!</string>
<string name="rewards_no_longer_available_error_message">The reward expired or can\'t be redeemed</string>
<string name="rewards_not_available_title">Reward no longer available</string>
<string name="rewards_operation_failed_message">Please try again after some time</string>
<string name="rewards_operation_failed_title">Something went wrong</string>
<string name="rewards_receive_carrier_sms_for_confirmation">You should receive an SMS confirmation from your mobile carrier within 2-4 hours.</string>
<string name="rewards_unknown_invitee_joined_notification_title">Someone you invited joined!</string>

<string name="tez_rewards_amount">$%s</string>
<string name="data_rewards_byte_count_gb">%sGB</string>
<string name="data_rewards_byte_count_mb">%sMB</string>

The actual amount of the rewards will be filled in once the referral system goes live, and it could obviously be changed along the way. Being that the method of paying out money is linked to Tez, that reward is clearly India-only, at least for now. The data rewards may target other parts of the world, but there's no way to be sure yet. Let us know if Duo begins offering anything to you for getting your friends to sign up.


The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

Google Duo
Google Duo
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free