Google Duo, a video-calling app announced earlier this year at I/O conference, is being released today. Its a very simple 1-to-1 video calling app which works on both iOS and Android but only on phones. It is a direct competitor to Apple FaceTime.
You don’t have to make any account to use Duo. It gets linked to your phone number and uses your contact list exactly like WhatsApp. After installing the app, it checks your phone number and sends an SMS for verification. After that, your contact list gets imported and you are ready to make video calls with other users having Duo installed on their phones.
To make a call, you simply tap on contact’s picture and you get connected. The major attraction of Duo is that its very lightweight and does not have any unnecessary features. Google has also made lots of adjustments under the hood to make the calls lag free. The quality of the video stream automatically changes depending on your connection and works flawlessly even on very slow connections. The app can also seamlessly switch between WiFi and cellular during an ongoing call.
The most interesting feature of Duo which puts it apart from FaceTime is something called ‘Knock Knock’. It basically starts showing your camera feed to the person you are calling even before they have picked the call. This makes the call feel more like an invitation instead of an interruption. This feature only works for people in your contact list (not for unknown callers) and is limited to Android.