Just one day after the Duo team completed the rollout of video messages to all users, a new version of the app is hitting the scene. In a side-by-side comparison, it looks like the interface of the app hasn’t gone through any changes with this new release, but we’re still looking for additional changes. However, a teardown of the APK has turned up some topics to discuss, including an upcoming feature that will allow users to create contact groups. There are also minor follow-ups for adding Google accounts and screen sharing.
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.
Contact management in Duo is pretty straightforward. At the top of the contact card, you’ll find the people you’ve called most recently, followed by a searchable list of all contacts. While that works well, it looks like there is a new organizational pattern in the works. A new feature will allow users to create custom groups for contacts.
Create new group
It looks like the option to create a group will be found in the long-press menu on a contact card. The actual behavior of groups is still hard to discern from the little bit that’s available right now. Since this will obviously be a tool for manual organization, users that don’t have a need for it can obviously ignore groups if they like.
It does appear that users will be able to create multiple groups. I assume that’s to allow for situations like keeping a group of contacts for work, another for family, and perhaps more for other activities. Basically, it’s probably just like adding tags in Google Contacts.
Follow-up: Google accounts
Not a version of Duo has gone by without at least a few minor changes to text that will be used for linking a Google account. Changes continue to be made in v30, but they’re mostly interesting only if you’re looking for the most subtle of details. I’ll briefly hit the highlights.
For starters, there’s an additional description that plainly spells out that other people will be able to call using either an email address or phone number. We’ve expected this for ages, but this promo text is at least very explicit. I also tend to expect features to be close to launch when promo text like this is added, since it almost always comes around the time that everything is being polished for launch.
If you decide to remove your Google account from Duo, even if you still intend to leave your phone number connected, you’ll have to re-verify the phone number. Removing the link will also sign you out of all other devices. I’m pretty sure this is specifically about unlinking the Google account from a phone number, not deregistering on a particular phone if you’re choosing to switch to a different phone.
You now have the option to add your Google Account to Duo.
And on a very minor point, notice that instructions now say you’re “adding” or “removing” a Google account rather than “linking” or “unlinking” it. I’m just guessing, but I have a feeling the new language was seen to be friendlier or more approachable.
Follow-up: Screen sharing
Screen sharing also received a minor addition that warrants quick acknowledgement. In the latest update, the Duo team added text for Duo to use when it requests that users grant permission to display on top of other apps.
To screen share, allow Duo to display on top of other apps.
This doesn’t add anything special to the topic of screen sharing, but like the promo text for Google accounts mentioned above, this type of addition can sometimes signal that a feature is nearing launch.
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.