Google has only just revealed the new features coming to Pixel devices as part of the upcoming ‘feature drop’ and one of the changes is already rolling out to users.
Google Duo version 68 has hit the Play Store and it brings the Portrait Mode feature announced as part of the feature drop. The feature also leaked via the Pixel Tips app earlier this month.
Portrait Mode adds a bokeh effect that blurs the background in Duo video calls, similar to what you’d see when taking a picture with Portrait Mode. Unfortunately, Duo’s Portrait Mode isn’t as robust as Google’s other offerings and has shoddy edge detection. Still, it seems like a helpful addition that can mask distracting backgrounds, especially on important Duo calls.
To access the Portrait Mode feature, you’ll need to tap the three-dot menu button in the bottom right corner of the call screen. ‘Portrait’ will appear next to the ‘Low Light’ option.
Portrait Mode requires Duo version 68 to work, but that alone doesn’t appear to be enough — my Pixel 4 with Duo version 68 doesn’t have the feature. When Google announced the Pixel feature drop, it said that users would need the latest version of Android along with the app updates. That could mean you’ll need the December security patch along with the Duo update to get Portrait Mode.
Thankfully, the December update started rolling out to some Pixel 4 users after a delay. We’ve not received it at MobileSyrup yet, which could be why my Pixel 4 doesn’t have the Portrait Mode feature.
It’s also possible that the feature needs some kind of server-side update from Google to activate. Whatever the reason, if it isn’t there for you yet, it will hopefully show up soon.