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Google's simple, cross-OS video calling app Duo launches today

By midian182
Aug 16, 2016
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  1. At its I/O conference back in May, one of the products Google unveiled was its cross-platform video call app, Duo. Today, the company finally launched the FaceTime rival, which is designed solely for smartphones.

    The app is available on both Android and iOS, and unlike many of the company’s other products, you don’t require a Google account to use it. Duo works in the same way as WhatsApp: users register and find other people via their phone number.

    Google is pushing Duo’s simplicity as its main selling point. It doesn’t have the kind of features found in Skype or Hangouts, such as conference calls, and the company believes this will appeal to consumers.

    “Users are reluctant to video call because they don’t know if the other person is on the right network, the right device or it’s a good time to call. We’ve tried to remove all that friction and make it feel like an invitation, not an interruption when someone call’s you,” Amit Fulay, Google’s group manager for communications, told The Guardian.

    “Duo is all about simplicity and quality. It’s all about video calling. There are no frills, no knobs or dials to adjust, it just works.”

    Duo does, however, come with a unique feature called “Knock Knock.” When a person receives a call, they’ll see a full-screen live video feed of the caller even before they answer. The person making the call gets a notice informing them that “your video is visible,” so they know not to pick their nose or anything while waiting for someone to answer.

    The feature may sound a bit worrying, but you only receive Knock Knocks from people in your contact list. It can be disabled completely, and on the iPhone it only works if you’re in the app, otherwise you just get a notification when someone calls.

    Duo fully encrypts all calls and adjusts the video resolution automatically depending on the speed of your connection. It can even keep a call going should you decide to switch from Wi-Fi to cellular. You can register to download here.

    While some have praised Duo’s simplicity and clean interface, there are those who say it’s these elements that make it dull. The video calling market is a crowded one, but a combination of Knock Knock and not having to create an account could help Duo stick out from the rest of the pack.

    Google's app may not replace FaceTime for iPhone users, but it does have potential on Android – early user reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

    Duo is rolling out worldwide on the Play Store and App Store over the next few days.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2016
  2. ghostf1re

    ghostf1re TS Enthusiast Posts: 94   +38

    This is a world (at least currently) where texting is the king. Video calling is far behind texting in terms of popularity and use. I think the app functions well for what it is, but there is a such thing as being too simplistic. This app has excellent audio and video quality, but has essentially no features. I don't believe those who use video calling on a frequent basis would ever care for such an app because they could get a lot more use from Hangouts or Skype.

    As far as the younger crowd, most people just use Snapchat to send videos back and fourth.
     
    mbrowne5061 likes this.
  3. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Guru Posts: 561   +172

    The down side to using hangouts and/or skype is... well... having to use hangouts and/or skype.
     
    ghostf1re likes this.
  4. MonsterZero

    MonsterZero TS Addict Posts: 227   +88

    I'm not real happy with hangouts after they decided to not group SMS and hangouts conversations in the same thread. This was the only thing good about hangouts, their claim, it was confusing to users. The app is a total **** storm now, all your conversations that were merged are all over the place, no one knows if you were replying on the hangouts or the SMS convo. Stupid.
     
    Moneyd623 likes this.
  5. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Guru Posts: 561   +172

    I can slightly see the confusion part. I am a heavy Facebook messenger user, and they recently merged that feature. Some people I have talked to are actually texting internationally thinking its free! lol. Hope their plan covers it other wise the bill will be a shock.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016
  6. MonsterZero

    MonsterZero TS Addict Posts: 227   +88

    I would just assume they would use what'sapp to text internationally, I still don't think it justifies the change, am I being ridiculous here?
     

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