Google Duo Video Calling App

Google Duo is Google’s brand new one-to-one video calling app. It was released as part of Google’s I/O 2016 event alongside a new messenger named Allo. Let’s take a closer look at Google Duo.

What is Google Duo?

Google describes Duo as “a video calling app for everyone”. The app is compatible with iOS and Android.

It also promises to be an effective video messenger whether you’re using a fast or slow connection “in New York or New Delhi”.

Like WhatsApp (and Allo, for that matter), Duo is based on your phone number, so you can use it to call anyone in your phone book.

When you’re in a call, the simple Duo interface slides away “so it’s just the two of you”, explains Google.

It Comes with Some Nifty Features

Why do we need a video messaging app when we have FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and other solutions? Well, Google plans to compete with these established platforms using a range of nifty features, including:

-Knock Knock: Knock Knock lets you view a live video preview of the caller before you pick up. You know how you peek out your door’s peephole before you open the door? Duo’s Knock Knock promises to offer a similar effect.

-Crisp HD Video: Duo delivers video up to 720p with HD audio. They also make numerous mentions of how they’ve optimized Duo to work even on spotty networks “so if bandwidth is limited it gracefully adjusts quality so you’re still able to connect.”

-Switch Between Cell Data and Wi-Fi: If you’re on a bad Wi-Fi connection, then Duo may switch between your cellular network and Wi-Fi. It will also transfer calls automatically over mobile and Wi-Fi – so if you’re in the car and you walk into your house, you’ll be able to continue speaking (although Facebook Messenger and other apps do this too, in my experience).

End to End Encryption

A lot of people have made a fuss about Allo’s lack of end-to-end encryption on all apps. On Duo, that’s not an issue, as all calls are encrypted from end-to-end.

See the Knock Knock Feature in Action Here

Google introduced Duo in this introductory video, where you can see how Knock Knock works in action:

As Google explains, they’re trying to bring some fun back into the video chatting process. Once someone calls you, their face immediately appears on your screen, giving you an instant glimpse into who’s calling you. They can’t see you until you actually accept the call (that would be super creepy, otherwise).

In any case, this is a feature we haven’t seen on Skype, Facetime, or any other video messaging platform. It could be the “killer feature” Duo needs to gain some market share.

Release Date is Summer 2016

Both Allo and Duo are going to be released in summer 2016, although Google hasn’t given us a more exact date.

Duo is currently listed in the Google Play Store, where you can click the “Pre-Register” button to get a notification when the app is released.

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