Video calling has become more important than ever before, and Samsung’s new smartphones have a neat way to take advantage of that. With the Galaxy S21 series, users can apply custom backgrounds and other video effects to apps such as Google Duo, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams.

Pointed out by Max Weinbach (via Android Police), there’s an option for applying video effects to calling apps buried in the settings on Galaxy S21-series devices. These video call effects can do three things on Galaxy S21 devices.

First, there’s a standard blur effect that can cut you out as the subject of a video and blur out the background around you. Second, there’s the option to apply a solid color to everything except you. Third, you can apply a custom image as the background, a practice that was popularized by Zoom but isn’t widely available on video calling apps on Android.

All of the magic here is done on a system level, independent of the app. When Samsung detects that a video calling app is being used — we know that Google Duo, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams are supported, an AP says WebEx is too — the effect is applied. An overlay also appears on screen so you can change those effects on the fly without diving back into the settings. The feature is on by default, but doesn’t actually apply any effects until you choose one.

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Ben Schoon

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