Google Duo

Yesterday, Google unveiled its first proper “feature drop” for Pixel phones, bringing a variety of new Pixel-specific features to apps like Google Duo. Another new feature has begun to become available for Google Duo, regardless of if you use a Pixel phone, in the form of portrait blur.

Last week, a teardown of the Pixel Tips app revealed a number of new features coming to Google apps in the near future, one of which was portrait mode for Google Duo. Yesterday, Google Duo version 68 released via the Play Store, and with it, some devices are seeing Portrait Mode available during video calls.

To activate the new bokeh background effect in Google Duo, start a call and press the three-dot “kebab” menu button in the bottom-right corner. If the feature has rolled out to your device, you should be able to find a button labeled “Portrait” right next to “Low light.”

Once portrait mode is enabled, Google Duo works its magic to blur your background, giving your calls that artistic bokeh effect.

As you can see from our example shots, Duo’s portrait mode has somewhat obvious edges around your profile, especially when compared to a portrait shot from the Google Camera app. This, of course, is due to video calls needing to provide new frames far more rapidly than a still camera.

That said, Duo’s portrait effect works just well enough to keep your background from being distracting or to hide your messy apartment, and it should be rolling out to Android devices over the next few weeks.

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About the Author

Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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