When Google first debuted its now-defunct messaging app Allo on the heels of Duo video messaging, I honestly thought that the latter would be the one to find itself on the chopping block. I don’t use video calling much and I really didn’t see a lot of merits that would support Duo being a success. Apparently, I was wrong. Three years later and Allo has been retired to the Google graveyard while Duo seems to be thriving and getting new features all the time. With well over 1 billion downloads, the video messaging app is thriving and it’s about to get even more useful for the productivity conscious.
According to a report from 9to5Google, Google Duo for the Web will soon be adding a Picture-in-Picture mode to mirror the feature that has been available in the Android app since 2017. With Chrome already having built-in PiP capabilities, it’s no surprise that Google is extending this feature to the video messaging platform. In its current state, Duo for the Web is very useful and provides high-quality video messaging for personal and business users alike but without the additional features found in the mobile app, it’s limited in a number of ways.
With the addition of Picture-in-Picture support, users will now be able to multi-task while on a conference call. This will allow for an entirely new level of productivity by allowing you to browse files, view spreadsheets and collaborate in real-time with other applications. This will be one of the biggest updates for Duo on the Web since its launch in February of 2019 but I suspect we’ll see more features added as Google brings parity to the web and mobile versions.
When I first saw this news, my thoughts immediately went to Microsoft Teams. Microsoft is pushing its collaboration platform pretty hard these days. With new smart hub hardware from makers like Lenovo that leverage real-time collaboration and features such as background blur and emoji replies, Duo isn’t too far from being a comparable alternative. The mobile app already supports effects and filters. If Google took Duo to the next level and integrated a number of its cloud-based services such as Google Docs, Duo could become a very powerful productivity tool for companies, schools and consumers across the board.
Currently, there isn’t a timeline for this update to Duo on the Web but 9to5’s sources state a rollout should be happening over the next few months. This news comes on the heels of Google adding the ability to use Duo on the Web without linking a phone number. This update alone will make it that much easier for the masses to use Duo as their go-to video and even phone call applications. If you’ve never tried Duo on the web, just head to duo.google.com and check it out.