An update to Google's Duo app began rolling out earlier today, and unlike many other recent app updates, there's actually a brand new feature that doesn't appear to be locked behind a server-side switch. Unfortunately, it also appears that it may not be working properly, and might have been left enabled by accident. Duo is also preparing a special video effect in honor of Valentine's Day.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog: (the stuff we found)

  • Added: Add to Favorites

Favorites

If you call more than a handful of people through Duo, your list of recent contacts might be overflowing. A solution for that is rolling out with v46 in the form of a Favorites list that you can edit to your liking, though it seems to be a bit buggy right now.

Hit the overflow menu at the top right and you'll see a new command titled "Add to favorites." This opens a contact picker with a list of favorite contacts at the top followed by your full contact list. There's also a search bar that can be used to narrow the list.

However, a bug seems to be preventing things from working as intended. When you try to add people that haven't been called from your device, a message pops up to confirm they've been added, but when you look at the top of the picker or return to the main screen, they're not there. You can obviously work around the bug by simply calling somebody, but that's not ideal when you're setting up a new phone or switching between phones regularly. I've filed a feedback report, so we'll probably see this fixed soon enough.

It's possible the Favorites feature wasn't intended to be live in this release. New text was also added that didn't appear when Duo launched, which might mean it was still in development.

strings
<string name="tag_close_ties_mru_promo_subtitle">Recent contacts will appear here. Choose some friends now so you can call them faster.</string>
<string name="tag_close_ties_mru_promo_title_variant_1">Choose your favorites</string>
<string name="tag_close_ties_mru_promo_title_variant_2">Who will you call the most?</string>
<string name="tag_close_ties_mru_promo_title_variant_3">Pick your peeps</string>
<string name="tag_close_ties_mru_promo_title_variant_4">Who will you call on the regular?</string>
<string name="tag_close_ties_add_contact_snackbar_text">%s added to favorites</string>
<string name="tag_close_ties_remove_all_snackbar_text">All favorites removed</string>
<string name="tag_close_ties_removed_contact_snackbar_text">%s removed from favorites</string>
<string name="tag_close_ties_search_hint_text">Search contacts or dial number</string>
<string name="tag_close_ties_shell_contact_call_to_action">Choose</string>

Teardown

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.

Valentine's Day video effect

We're just under a month away from the pinkest day of the year. The day chocolate and flower companies have been preparing for. The day restaurant reservations skyrocket. Yep, I'm talking about Valentine's Day.

If you won't be able to spend time with your significant other, you may still resort to a video call to keep in touch. To highlight the day, Duo is preparing a video effect to go with your romantic chit chat.

<string name="single_tap_valentine_effect">Valentine\'s Day effect</string>
<string name="single_tap_valentine_effect_home_screen_hint">�� Try a video effect for Valentine\'s Day ��</string><string name="single_tap_effect_hint">Try a fun video effect</string>
<string name="single_tap_generic_effect">Video effect</string>
<string name="single_tap_generic_effect_home_screen_hint">✨ Try a new video effect ✨</string>

There are also a few other lines that bring up video effects without specifically referencing Valentine's Day. This naturally brings up the subject of video effects we've seen discussed in the past, including the Drishti effect and a bokeh-like portrait mode.

Download

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.