Since its launch in 2016, Google Duo has used end-to-end encryption for calls, messages, notes, and all kinds of communications carried through it. That encryption is one of the reasons we recommend using Duo to catch up with friends and family, but most users may not be aware of it. Now Google is boasting this privacy-centric approach for everyone to see, and while it's at it, it added the option to send more emojis to your contacts.

End-to-end encryption is already mentioned in the app's menu under Privacy in Duo, but most users of the service probably never noticed that or knew about it. That's why Google is starting to display a notice when you're on a call, which clarifies that the communication is secure and encrypted. This should help users feel more safe and trusting of the service, especially when enjoying private talks with their loved ones.

Left: Duo's "Privacy" menu already explained this. Right: But now, you'll also see the notice while calling.

The second change affects contact pages in the app. You can already send hearts to people, but that appears to be expanding to include more emojis. On my device, some of my contacts only offer the heart card, while others have a scrolling strip with 10 emojis (👋 💖 👍 😘 🙏 🌜 🌞 🔜 😞 ❗️) that you can tap to send. Emojis you send at the same time will be grouped together in a single card.

Left: You can only send a heart to some contacts. Middle & Right: But others offer more emoji options .

The two features are slowly rolling out to users, likely via a server-side update. Despite being on the latest v89 (APK Mirror) of the app, the encryption notice hasn't showed up on my devices, but the emojis are live in some of my conversations. If you're eager to get any of these, you can grab the APK to make sure the server-side odds are in your favor.

  • Thanks:
  • Nick Cipriani,
  • Dr. Abhijit Mondol