For the past several releases, we’ve been tracking an expansion of Duo’s video/voice messaging capability to include images. With Google Duo 56, it is now partially live and allows you to send Snapchat-like single photos to your contacts.
Released on Thursday, version 56 of Google Duo adds the application to Android’s system share sheet, including in Google Photos and Files. This allows users to message any saved photo on their device via Duo.
Once in the app, you have access to the same tools as when sending a video message. This include drawing and adding text with multiple colors and sizes available. An image can then be simultaneously sent to multiple Duo contacts.
Interestingly, Duo does not appear in the share sheet for video in our initial testing. While Duo 56 is required to message photos, the ability to receive is already live in version 55.
Recipients will get a notification telling them about a “New Photo” and the sender. It’s otherwise accessible from that contact’s pre-call screen and can be viewed again for the next 24 hours. After opening, there are shortcuts to “Call now” or “Reply” with a video.
At the moment, images cannot be browsed and sent directly from inside Duo. This is likely coming in a future update to the app. The ability to message photos makes Google’s only successful consumer social app quite full-featured, and impossibly close to a chat client if text capabilities were added. The ability to add captions achieves this in part.
Google Duo 56 is widely rolled out and available via the Play Store.