Greetings and some fundamental basics?
I'm currently at level 9 in Italian. However I'm a little suprised that I've not encountered greetings and brief chit-chats in any of the lessons. Phrases like: "hi", "my name is...", "nice to meet you". Also some more dedication to days, months, time and numbers would really be appreciated sooner in the level structure.
To be honest, I'm okay with not learning these phrases. There are plenty of other resources available to learn the basics of a language, from travel guides to hacking courses to other FREE websites such as Memrise (Which is the perfect complement to Duolingo for a language learner).
Another point: An early learner could get a bit overwhelmed learning grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation all at once. To throw in general greetings and phrases (which are often in idiomatic form, ie they are not structured in the same grammatical sense as other sentences, because they are used so often) could potentially confuse this poor early learner. I know I found the "Phrases" sections of French and Spanish quite difficult (Not so much Italian because of my background).
Perhaps, if Duo is going to include these phrases, include them later in the course. I know Italian has a "Formal" section where you learn greetings in the formal 'Lei' form. Perhaps that should be expanded to a Formal/Informal greetings section.
But personally, if the amazing team at Duo was going to prioritise a section on greetings over other areas such as grammar explanations or improving other parts of the website such as Immersion and Discussions (or the rumoured 'language lesson creation' system) , I would have to disagree. I think that work should be done on those areas first before adding resources which are readily available in any $4 language guide or free in a Google Search.
Anyway that's just my two cents, feel free to roll it down a gutter :)