During the Google I/O 2016 event, the search engine giant announced two communication apps – Google Allo and Google Duo. While the former has been marketed as a messaging app, the latter is meant for video calling purposes.
At the time of announcement, Google promised that these two apps will be here during this summer. With time seemingly not on the tech giant’s side, the company has decided to first push the video calling app Google Duo, but it has yet to reach all parts of the globe.
Still, the promise made by the company has come to be realized. However, some will be wondering why Google will bother coming in with another video calling app when Hangouts was just doing fine. But according to the company, Hangouts is more of a collaborative application while Google Duo is all about the individual. The new app is meant to offer an easy-to-use experience where all you have to do is tap the call button and the name of the person you want to call – the app will do the rest for you.
Just like many apps from the recent past, Google Duo is tied to your phone number. It is also not limited to Android, but iOS users can also get it from the iTunes App Store. Speaking of iOS, this Duo app should ring a bell as it works just in the same manner as FaceTime, which is the go-to app for iPhone users as far as video calling is concerned. Once you install Duo, enter your phone number and a confirmation message will be sent to the number you entered. The app will then populate a contact list based on what you have on your phone, something that should take about 10 seconds.
Given its simplistic nature, Google Duo is only available on mobile devices. This is where Google Hangouts beats it as it is available on almost every device that can access Google Chrome. In addition, the fact that Duo is not tied to one’s Google account means that the full Google experience will be missed.
Google Duo will work perfectly with 2G, EDGE and 2.5G connections
Video calling services are already offered via the likes of Skype, Facebook Messenger, Viber, LINE and many other apps, including Google Hangouts. However, many users of these apps have been unable to use this service due to the huge internet demands it has. Apparently, none of these apps can offer quality video calling services in EDGE, 2G or 2.5G internet connections. However, Google Duo can.
This is one big win for Google as it tries to capture the developing markets where messaging and calling apps are user favorites. India, for instance, has more than 200 million smartphone users, but a huge chunk of them have no access to 3G connections. Now that there is Google Duo, these people might see a reason to make video calls regardless of the poor internet connections.
Google Duo, despite being a very simple video calling app, also comes with a nifty feature known as Knock-Knock. With this feature, an incoming Duo call will show a screen displaying a live video feed of the caller, even before you receive the call. This means you can see who is calling and their current circumstances in order to prepare yourself properly for the same call. However, this Knock-Knock feature is only available for Android users. There is no mention of whether iOS users will be receiving it in the near future.
As it is, there are no plans to bundle Google Duo with upcoming Android Nougat OS, something made FaceTime such a success with iOS devices. But still, this could change in future with newer Android versions.
Another app that is greatly anticipated is Google Allo, which is also set for a summer release. However, Google has not said a word on the same, with the Play Store still listing it as “coming soon.”