Five years after Apple launched Facetime, Google is responding with a one-to-one video calling app of its own – Google Duo.
Two, unlike Skype – another popular video calling service – you can call anyone already in your existing phones’ address book. This is a big improvement over Skype where you have to add a person’s user handle before you could call them.
And three, Duo gives you a sneak peek of the person who’s calling you before you pick up. The “Knock Knock” feature lets you preview the screen of the caller and decide if you want to pick up. Android users can see the video preview on the lock screen while iPhone users need to hit “Preview” first or already be in the app.
The app will also ring for up to a minute in case you can’t get to the phone right away.
Once on a video call, Google keeps Duo features to a bare minimal only providing options to mute audio, switch between front- and back-facing cameras and end the call. There isn’t even a time stamp to let you know how long you’ve been on the call (which feels like a miss).
I’m an iPhone user, so I don’t really see the need to use Duo when I’m calling other IOS users. However, I would use it instead of other services when calling my friends who are Android users. I also think the app is way easier to use than Skype and would totally lean to using this over that service when I’m out and about.
That being said, I’ll still use Skype for business-related video calls. I like to use my laptop for business video calling because I can have it sit stationary on my desk or flat surface instead of trying to steady my phone in my hand. Video calling is already super awkward without the camera jerking about.
Duo is currently mobile only, so it won’t work on a laptop.