February 20, 2017
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Duo new video-calling app From Google

Duo new video-calling app From Google


Duo new video-calling app From Google

Duo new video-calling app From Google.The New app Knock, knock, Google’s video chatting app has arrived in market , dubbed Duo, represents Google’s response to other popular video calling options, including Apple’s Face Time, Microsoft’s Skype and Facebook’s Messenger app. Duo isn’t much different from the other video chatting services, except that it gives a glimpse at who is making the call, helping the recipient decide whether to answer. Google calls this feature, Knock, knock.

The new app, announced in May, is being released Tuesday as a free service for phones running on Google’s Android operating system as well as Apple’s iPhones. Like FaceTime for iPhones, Duo only requires a person’s phone number to connect. Many other services require both participants to have account logins to use their video calling options.Google has been offering video calling through its Hangout feature for several years, but the internet company is now tailoring that service for business meetings. Duo is being billed as a simpler, more reliable way to see friends and family as you talk to them. It is the first of two new mobile apps that Google, owned by Alphabet Inc., has planned for this summer. The Mountain View, California, company also is preparing to unveil a new messaging app called Allo featuring a robotic assistant that will suggest automated responses to texts.

A Short History

First, a little context about Duo and where it fits into the universe of Google apps. The Silicon Valley company announced in May at its annual developer conference that Duo would be coming. The app is solely dedicated to video chats between two people, the company said, to make video calling simpler to access.This is not the first time Google has provided video calling. Google started offering mobile video calling several years ago inside its Hangouts app, which also includes messaging and voice-calling capabilities. The video-calling feature in Hangouts will remain intact.

Crystal Dahlen, a Google spokeswoman, said the name Duo conveyed that the app was designed for one-to-one video calling on mobile devices, in contrast to Hangouts, which lets groups of people make video calls over mobile devices and computers. Duo will roll out globally over the next few days.FaceTime, in contrast, is now six years old. When Apple unveiled the video-calling ability in iPhones in 2010, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s co-founder, said he had dreamed of mobile video calling since he grew up watching “The Jetsons” and “Star Trek.” Apple later expanded FaceTime to work with iPads and Macs, among other Apple products. The company has not published statistics on FaceTime use, but the technology helped make mobile video calling mainstream.
Duo Versus FaceTime

The Duo app is downloadable and free through Google’s Play store and Apple’s App Store. When you open the Duo app, there is just one button: video call. Tapping that loads your contacts list, and from there you can choose whom to call.Duo starts streaming video to a recipient as soon as the call is placed, meaning the person you are calling will be able to see you waving or making faces before he or she picks up. Google calls this feature Knock Knock. It can be disabled in case you have friends who are likely to make inappropriate hand gestures.With FaceTime, you place a call directly through the iPhone’s contacts list or through the separate FaceTime app. The recipient does not see the video streaming until after the call is answered.I placed video calls over Duo and FaceTime over a strong Wi-Fi connection as well as a weak cellular connection. In the tests, the video calls looked clearer on Duo, though that is an unreliable measure because very few people are currently able to use Duo, so the network is unrealistically uncongested. When more people use Duo, we can expect the picture quality to vary depending on network traffic and internet speeds.There is a minor difference for Duo between Android and iPhone users. An Android user receiving a Duo call will see a Knock Knock video on the home screen by default. Those using Apple devices will see a notification on top of the screen and will have to open the Duo app before seeing Knock Knock in action. Otherwise, the app works the same for both Android and iPhone.
Against the Rest

I also compared Duo calls with video calls placed over Microsoft’s Skype and Facebook Messenger. Against those two, Duo’s simplicity won hands down.In Facebook’s Messenger app, the video-calling feature is embedded in the corner of a message box, so it is hard to find and not intuitive to use. In fact, every call I have ever made with Messenger has been by mistake.On Skype, the video-calling feature is in a place similar to Messenger’s, in the corner of a message box. More annoyingly, to find other Skype users you have to manually add them to your Skype contacts list or toggle on an option to synchronize your address book with Skype.

The Bottom Line

For now, FaceTime is just as intuitive as Duo so I see no compelling reason to use Duo over FaceTime to call iPhone users.But if I had to video call an Android user, I would use Duo over other video-calling services like Skype or Facebook Messenger, which have more cluttered interfaces than Duo’s single-button approach.

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