After initially announcing it at Google I/O earlier this year, Google has finally launched Duo, its new video calling app. The new video calling app from the company will be available for both iOS and Android devices.
Unlike Hangouts and previous other video and chatting tools launched by Google, Duo’s advantage is its simplicity. Unlike Hangouts, Duo only requires you to have the phone number of the person whom you want to video call. If someone who you are trying to video call does not have Duo installed, you can SMS them an invite to install the app.
As for the app itself, it is pretty bare bones and lacks group video calling support. However, one of Duo’s strength is going to be its speed and reliability. Built on Google’s WebRTC framework, Duo should be able to deliver significantly better audio and video quality over spotty and slow connections when compared to Skype or Facebook Messenger. Google says that if the connection drops down to 2G, you will continue to get the audio, with only the video being paused.
Another innovative new feature in Duo is called Knock Knock that lets the recipient of a call see the caller before they can accept the video call and switch on their own camera.
If you make a lot of video calls using Skype or Facebook Messenger, Duo is unlikely to catch your attention because of its simplicity. However, it is this simplicity that should allow many smartphone owners in countries like India and other parts of Asia easily make their first video call. On the flip side, this also means that Duo does not have a desktop app and Google does not intend on creating one anytime soon.