After unveiling Duo at its I/O conference in May, Google has finally launched its free-of-charge, cross-platform video calling app for both iOS and Android operating systems. Duo was showcased alongside another app, Google Assistant-based Allo, only has been made it onto the relevant app stores to be downloaded and consumed by iOS and Android users.
Google Duo is an alternative vide-calling app to Apple’s FaceTime in some, and in many sorts, would initially look to be Google’s answer to Apple’s front-facing video calling functionality that’s baked into iOS and OS X with iPhone, iPad and Mac hardware. With the cross-platform nature of Duo means hat it has instantly opened up to users that Apple doesn’t have access to.
Unlike FaceTime, though, Duo allows for cross platform calls that work on both Android and iOS mobile devices, so it isn’t limited to users who only have an iPhone. Duo app, as it currently exists gives you the impression that there’s more to come from it going forward, in fact it handles seamless video calling with the single touch of a button makes it an extremely powerful and beneficial communication tool to have.
The core functionality of Duo is somewhat limited at the moment, but the simplicity of the app really does do what it says on the tin. Users of the app, regardless of whether they are using Duo on iOS or Android, can eventually make unlimited video calls to contacts stored with a telephone number with a single button press. When in a video call, you get many of the feature additions you’d expect from a service like FaceTime, including mute, switching between the rear and front-facing camera, and ending the call.
The recipient of the Duo call can also then take advantage of what Google is calling Duo’s “Knock Knock” feature. It essentially provides the recipient with a small live video of the caller so they can see who the caller is before accepting or rejecting Duo video calls. This feature in Duo is a sort of video caller-ID that lets the person receiving a call see what the caller is doing prior answering it. Think of it like FaceTime video preview that’s gone live before the FaceTime call is accepted.
The Duo app however contain some behind-the-scenes intelligence that handles video calling quality based on the detected Internet connection, so if your data signal strength is low, you can expect the video quality to be much lower than the standard quality. Google ensuring that all calls are safe and secure with full encryption. Because Duo uses a phone number for authentication, the app is now instantly thrown for desktop yet, and you are only able to use one device associated with a certain phone number at a time. Deal breaker for those who like to chat on multiple devices, but for those looking for easy video calling, it’s definitely worth a try.
It’s fast, simple and intelligent, but it’s also competing with the likes of FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and even WhatsApp for dominance in the mobile video calling landscape. The app is rolling out to users across the world in the coming few days, so if you are unable to download the app in your region right now, no worry, it will arrive soon.
Once accepted and entered into your iOS or Android, Duo app installs on your mobiles. You sign into the app using your phone number, and once logged in, you will have a list of contacts to call pulled from the existing phonebook in your handset.
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