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Google might start bribing you to get your friends to use Google Duo

There might be a Google Duo rewards program on the way to incentivize you to convince your friends to stop using WhatsApp.

Published onJuly 12, 2018

  • A teardown of the latest Duo APK points to some sort of Google Duo rewards program.
  • It seems that Google is going to issue monetary rewards to people who get their friends to use Duo.
  • Given the popularity of Duo’s competition, a financial reward may be the only way Google can get Duo more users.

Did you know that Google has a video chat app called Google Duo? It’s like Facetime, Skype, or WhatsApp, but with a significantly smaller user base.

It looks like Google is going to try to change that with a new rewards program that will incentivize users to get their friends to use Duo in place of whichever video chat app they currently use.

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While the details of the program aren’t yet known, a teardown of the most recent Duo APK (via Android Police) clearly reveals code strings that point to some sort of rewards program. How it will work and what those rewards will be is anyone’s guess at the moment, but the code makes it clear that a system is in place:

<string name="rewards_invite_friends_hint_data">Free %s when friends join</string>
<string name="rewards_invitor_redeem_header">Congrats! You earned %s</string>
<string name="rewards_invitor_redeem_body_text_cash">As a thank you for bringing %1$s to Duo, you get %2$s! Tap “%3$s” to redeem.</string>
<string name="rewards_redeem_button">NEXT</string>

In the code strings, there are three alerts that will likely pop-up for users:

  • Free _____ when friends join
  • Congrats! You earned _____
  • As a thank you for bringing _____ to Duo, you get _____! Tap _____ to redeem.

Those blanks could be anything from cash rewards to credit on the Google Play Store to gift card points.

Keep in mind that code gets added to APKs and then taken away all the time, so this alleged rewards program could amount to nothing. However, it makes perfect sense for Google to institute something along these lines as Duo’s competition is Facetime, Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger, all of which are behemoths in the messaging sphere. If Google is going to compete with Duo, it’s going to have to do some serious pushing.

In related news, the APK teardown of Duo also revealed a new “Pause” button. This is likely going to be a way for you to temporarily turn-off your own video feed during a call, similar to the current mute button for audio. It’s not clear if the pause button will turn off both video and sound, or if you’ll have to hit both the pause and mute button to achieve that.

If you don’t already have Duo pre-installed on your phone, you can download the latest version here:

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