Android users have been looking forward to the possibility of screen sharing with Google Duo for several months now, and while the feature has rolled out, it hasn’t been quite what users were hoping for. In fact, it’s totally broken. When I tested the feature with my friends’ Android devices, we found that we were only able to see a frozen image of the calling party’s display, or in some cases, a gray frame instead of an image at all.
Theoretically, the functionality should be quite straightforward. Back in October, Android Police shared an APK teardown that made clear that the feature would soon be coming to Google Duo. All you would need to do is tap on the new screen-sharing button, which is located closest to the floating mirror button, and then Duo would ask for permission to record your screen. Once you gave permission, you would see your home screen with a red outline denoting what part of your screen you’re sharing, as well as a floating button featuring pause and stop functionality. The person on the other end of the line would still be able to hear you, but would see your screen instead of your face — or a blank screen.
Again, this was all in theory.
Despite the hype and anticipation, this does not appear to be the experience most people are having. As Android Police noted and we verified, the screen you try to share is frozen, and remains this way even if you attempt to switch camera angles, and even if you actually try to end the screen share session. Only be ending the call altogether can you get out of the frozen mode, which needless to say, is not the best user experience.
Of course, when features first begin rolling out, they often experience a few hiccups like this one, so it’s likely that Google will soon release yet another update to Duo to make our lives a little bit better (and screen sharing actually possible). Until then, we’ll just have to sit tight and believe that the feature will soon be not only available, but functional too.
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