Google's video chat app Duo has always been a pretty lightweight app, seemingly focused primarily on keeping the interface simple and prioritizing video and audio quality over flooding it with features. We've seen a few features slowly emerge over the last couple of years, and just about as many have been implemented and subsequently removed before launching. While we wait to see the eventual launch of a favorites list for contacts, there's another new feature in development that may liven up your video chats: Drawing mode. There's also another reminder that group calling is on the way.


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.

Drawing mode

Communication comes in many forms, and there's usually one or two ways that are best for any particular type of thing you're trying to communicate. Video messaging is fantastic for sharing images of yourself and your surroundings, not to mention speaking directly to a person, but sometimes you might also want to add even more to the screen, whether it's to be informative or just to have some fun. It looks like this is something you'll be able to do in Duo.

<string name="ink_edu_header">New edit options</string>
<string name="ink_edu_body">Add drawings or text to your video message</string>
<string name="ink_edu_dismiss_text">Got it</string>

Judging by the current text, this is limited to video messages, but I don't really see a reason this couldn't find its way into regular video chat.

The latest additions include tool icons for drawing and typing text on the screen, plus several icons dedicated to the different drawing tools including a pen, marker, and highlighter.

Within the new text, there are currently names for 28 different colors that can be used to create your masterpiece.

<string name="ink_color_amber">Amber</string>
<string name="ink_color_avocado">Avocado Green</string>
<string name="ink_color_blue">Blue</string>
<string name="ink_color_brown">Brown</string>
<string name="ink_color_cobalt">Cobalt Blue</string>
<string name="ink_color_crimson">Crimson</string>
<string name="ink_color_cyan">Cyan</string>
<string name="ink_color_deeppurple">Deep Purple</string>
<string name="ink_color_green">Green</string>
<string name="ink_color_hotpink">Hot Pink</string>
<string name="ink_color_lavender">Lavender</string>
<string name="ink_color_lime">Lime</string>
<string name="ink_color_orange">Orange</string>
<string name="ink_color_purple">Purple</string>
<string name="ink_color_red">Red</string>
<string name="ink_color_teal">Teal</string>
<string name="ink_color_violet">Violet</string>
<string name="ink_color_yellow">Yellow</string><string name="ink_color_darkbrown">Dark Brown</string>
<string name="ink_color_darkgray">Dark Gray</string>
<string name="ink_color_lightblue">Light Blue</string>
<string name="ink_color_lightgray">Light Gray</string>
<string name="ink_color_lightgreen">Light Green</string>
<string name="ink_color_lightorange">Light Orange</string>
<string name="ink_color_lightpink">Light Pink</string>
<string name="ink_color_lightteal">Light Teal</string><string name="ink_color_black">Black</string>
<string name="ink_color_white">White</string>

You'll also be able to adjust the size of the text or drawing tools on a scale of 8 different options ranging from tiny to enormous.

<string name="ink_size_0">Tiny</string>
<string name="ink_size_1">Smaller</string>
<string name="ink_size_2">Small</string>
<string name="ink_size_3">Medium</string>
<string name="ink_size_4">Large</string>
<string name="ink_size_5">Larger</string>
<string name="ink_size_6">Huge</string>
<string name="ink_size_7">Enormous</string>

The features are largely in line with what you would see for drawing tools in Google Keep Notes. The only remaining notable points to call out are that the only font currently listed is a generic "sans serif black" and that text can be moved, rotated, or resized with pinch gestures.

<string name="ink_highlighter">Highlighter</string>
<string name="ink_marker">Marker</string>
<string name="ink_pen">Pen</string>
<string name="ink_toggle_colors">Toggle full color palette</string><string name="ink_text_button">Text</string>
<string name="ink_text_edu_tooltip">Drag, rotate, or pinch to move text or change size</string>
<string name="ink_font">sans-serif-black</string>
<string name="ink_undo_text">Undo</string>

<string name="ink_complete_text">Next</string>
<string name="ink_cancel_text">Cancel</string>
<string name="ink_dismiss_confirmation_dialog">Going back will discard this recording and you will lose any edits.</string>
<string name="ink_dismiss_confirmation_dialog_negative">Discard</string>
<string name="ink_dismiss_confirmation_dialog_positive">Keep</string>
<string name="ink_drawing_button">Draw</string>

While not exactly related to the drawing tool, there was one more icon that will likely find a place in close proximity to the drawing and text tools, and that's a special effects icon. This will obviously lead to things like the recently spotted Valentine's Day effect.


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