News: Google Joins Snapchat & Facebook by Adding Augmented Reality Video Effects to Duo App for Valentine's Day

Google Joins Snapchat & Facebook by Adding Augmented Reality Video Effects to Duo App for Valentine's Day

Snapchat and Snap Camera aren't the only augmented reality apps available for couples to use on Valentine's Day.

Google has added an augmented reality video effect to Duo, its latest video communications app for iOS and Android. Now, when recording a video message, Duo users can touch the "Valentine's Day effect" button to add floating, translucent heart bubbles to their rear or front-facing camera feed.

Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

The effect appears to employ a background segmentation technique, similar to the technology Google developed last year, with hearts spawning from behind the user. This makes for some interesting visuals through the rear camera without a human subject, with bubbles emerging from the ground and within the frame of a TV.

However, users are limited to sharing videos to other Duo users. For those who want to share through other apps, Snapchat and Snap Camera are there for them.

Of course, Facebook also offers a wide variety of AR effects across its stable of mobile apps as well via its AR platform. By my count, Messenger offers the most AR opportunities, so you can slide into those DMs.

My favorite AR options from Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

Google's main mobile AR strategy is to play facilitator for app developers, with ARCore, Google Maps API, and its experimental web-based AR format among its offerings.

Nevertheless, in its role as an app publisher, Google has also developed a diverse portfolio of AR apps and experiences itself. Between its Playground app for Pixel smartphones, Google Lens, Google Translate Arts and Culture, Measure, Just a Line, Motion Stills, Notable Women, the Qibla Finder web app, and its forthcoming AR walking navigation feature for Google Maps, the company has applied AR to entertainment, education, creativity, and productivity.

Now, with the addition of AR to Duo, Google is ready to add AR to video communications as well. But, with its limited sharing options, it doesn't look like Google wants to wade too far into Snapchat and Facebook territory.

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Cover image via Google/YouTube

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