Having separate apps for different types of communication may be a controversial idea, but Google practices it consistently. For those not ultimately confused by what happens to Hangouts, Google Talk, Google Voice, and other services, here is Google Duo, a special app for tête-à-tête video calls.
Though the idea of having a special app for video communication along with all the rest seems a bit absurd, the app itself is designed well. As you launch it, it shows you the list of contacts already using Google Duo. Below it shows the rest of your phonebook, so you can invite to Google Duo any of them. As you send the link, they can install the proper version for the OS they use.
To start a video call, you only need to tap the user’s avatar. The call starts automatically. If your vis-à-vis is offline at the moment, you can record a video message and send it. If you prefer audio calls at the moment, select it by tapping the button at the top of the screen.
During the call, you can switch the camera to show what’s in front of you and then switch back to the front one. Alas, it has no features of augmented reality similar to what we see in Facetime. But there’s a reason for that: with weak or poorly optimized devices this feature won’t work properly and will only spoil the quality of the call. This responsibility can be taken by a company like Apple that controls both its hardware and software, but not by Google sharing it with third party vendors.
By the name you can assume that the app only supports private calls, so you can talk to one person at a time. This limited functionality is the major drawback of the app; it’s not clear why to use it while we have multifunctional WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, Tango, even the good old Skype with video calls along with the entire specter of communication types.
Another reason to prefer any of those to Google Duo is its availability for mobile devices only. While all the other messengers can be used on any type of devices, Google Duo is a purely mobile thing. That leaves desktop users out, and for some, it may be the major reason to settle with something else instead.
Yet Google Duo has its pros. It’s simple and takes little space. The quality of Google Duo calls is probably the highest your hardware can provide. The most unique feature of Google Duo is called Knock Knock. When someone calls you, you can see them on your screen even before you answer the call; it’s a chance to decide whether to accept or to ignore it. Google Duo is integrated with the phone’s call log, so you can access your Duo calls history from the integral one.
Not that Google Duo is completely necessary for today’s communication, given that we have the whole lot of Swiss Army messengers like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Yet you can find your reason to use Google Duo for communicating. First of all is its easiness and good call quality.
- The app is extremely simple;
- Requires little memory and performance and no special authorization;
- Integrated with iPhone call log;
- High-quality video;
- Voice calls and video messages;
- Knock Knock call preview.
- No group calls;
- No PC client;
- No augmented reality features.