We're a couple of months away from Valentine's Day, but the Google Duo team is feeling the love already. Maybe they want us to be more vocal about our feelings during the holidays, maybe they think telling someone you care about them shouldn't be done on just one day of the year. Regardless of their thinking, they've added a way to send and receive hearts in the video calling app.
The option to send a heart won't show up for all Duo contacts. It won't even pop up for the contacts you talk to the most, or those you've marked as a partner or husband/wife in Google Family Link. Weird, but OK.
When the option is available, you'll see a "Send a heart" card in the middle of the contact's screen, before you start a call with them or send them a message. The card is reminiscent of the ones for setting up call reminders and sharing self-destructing photos. You can send them a heart, which they'll be notified about, and if you receive a heart from someone, you get to send one back. A cute animation punctuates each action.
Sending and receiving hearts.
The feature was discovered a while back by 9to5Google but it wasn't live then. It was also supposed to include a heart, hug, and wave, but we've only spotted the first one.
This is showing up for us on version 67 of Duo, though it's likely a server-side switch and might have appeared for some users before. Others may not have it yet, and since it's unreliable, you still need to dig through several contacts to see if it shows up for one of them. I wish Google would make these options more consistent across contacts.