Last month, our APK Insight spotted that Google was working on a new “precall” interface in Duo for Android. This change is now live for some and replaces the video/audio switcher on the homepage by giving users a traditional contact screen before placing a call. Drawing and adding text captions to video messages is also live, while favoriting contacts is available for other users.
As part of this new design, Google Duo no longer features a toggle to manually switch between the voice and video calling modes just above the grid of contacts. Additionally, the app defaults to a live video feed from your front-facing camera.
Tapping a user’s avatar will open a contacts “precall” page where their icon, name, and number are displayed at the top of the page. Any current audio/video message will appear below with a visual preview in the case of the latter.
Contact options are below, with “Video call” taking precedence thanks to a wide, oblong FAB. “Voice call” is to the left, while recording a message is to the right. Lastly, a gear icon in the top-right allows users to block contacts.
In the past, these options were only accessible as a regular menu — which is still available — overlaid on the homepage when users press and hold on a profile. That was a much less obvious interface than the change today.
Meanwhile, when sending a message, you can swipe to switch between Voice and Video modes. The latter now lets users add text or draw with several colors and tools after a recording is complete.
Another change that is not widely available today is the ability to add favorite contacts. When live, “Add to favorites” will appear in the main overflow menu and as a “Choose” avatar in the grid. Users are then presented with a list of contacts to manually pin for quick access.
This redesign and the other new features are live on several devices we checked this morning running Google Duo 49. However, this is a server-side update and not yet widely rolled out.