Duo Video Calling App: Google launches Cross-Platform Answer To FaceTime

Duo Video Calling App: Google launches Cross-Platform Answer To FaceTime

Duo Video Calling App: Google launches Cross-Platform Answer To FaceTime

Google is introducing a new video calling app later this summer. It's called Duo, and it's possibly the simplest and fastest video calling app. Like its companion chat app, Allo, Duo is mobile-only. It uses our phone number as an identifier, and it will work on both Android and iOS.

Duo will be at direct loggerheads with FaceTime, Facebook Messenger and Skype, all of which has been in the market for quite some time. What's unique about Duo is that, before the call, the app will display a live video of the person at the other end. The feature is called 'knock, knock.'

Apart from this, Duo is like any other cross-platform one-to-one video-calling app. Similar to the others, Duo also offers end-to-end encryption of all video calls made from the app.

The app, which is only available for smartphones, is the newest in a long line of Google services accomplished of conducting video calling, but is this time designed to simplify the process.

Amit Fulay, Google’s group manager for communications, said: “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".

“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 was declared at Google I/O in May and rolls out globally today on  iOS 9 and Android in 78 languages. It will be a hard sell seeing how late to market Duo is compared to strong, sensible intertwined products like Facebook Messenger and Apple’s iMessage/FaceTime

Duo looks a bit weak, however, since it can’t do group calling, video effects or text chat. If we want to video call somebody without Duo, we’ll have to invite them over SMS with an app download link. Starting from zero users with that level of uncertainty might push people to go with a competitor their contacts are likely to already have. That’s a big drawback versus the ubiquitous Facebook Messenger and Skype’s video call features.

Fox explains that Google concentrated on three things with Duo. First, “if there’s anything that was our North Star, it was to be super, super simple.” Second, Fox says, is speed and reliability, thanks to Duo being built on Google’s WebRTC video framework to handle HD or 2G. And third, “The human element. You don’t hear Google talk about this all that often, but we wanted to enable the human on the other end of the call to really be the experience.” 
When we open Duo, we are greeted with a selfie-cam video preview of yourself. Check our hair, then tap one of the huge circle photos below to start a call — or scroll up on the panel to see more contacts. We call, the person on the other end of the line answers, and we are having a video chat. We can mute our microphone, we can flip the camera. We can't do a video conference, though.

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