Google to launch video chatting app Duo

16 Aug 2016


Google is set to launch its video chatting app which represents Google's response to other popular video calling options, including Apple's FaceTime, Microsoft's Skype and Facebook's Messenger app.

Duo, is much like other net telephony products apart from the fact that it offers a glimpse into who is making the call, helping the recipient decide whether to answer. Google had dubbed this feature, "Knock, knock."

The new app, announced in May, is being released today as a free service for Android and iPhones.

Like FaceTime for iPhones, Duo only requires a person's phone number to connect as against many other services that 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 will now tailor the service for business meetings.

Duo had been billed as a simpler, more reliable way to see friends and family as one talked to them.

It was the first of two new mobile apps that Google had planned for this summer. The Mountain View, California, company is also preparing to unveil a new messaging app called Allo featuring a robotic assistant that would suggest automated responses to texts.

Duo was announced at Google I/O in May and would roll out globally today on Android and iOS 9 in 78 languages. According to commentators, it would be a hard sell in view of its late entry compared to strong, sensibly intertwined products like Facebook Messenger and Apple's iMessage / FaceTime.

Duo could be best seen as a no-frills FaceTime competitor that worked with Android devices instead of just Apple products.

Duo is however lean on features, since it cannot do group calling, video effects or text chat. If users need to video call someone without Duo, they would need to be invited over SMS with an app download link.

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