It was back in May this year that Google first introduced the world to Duo; a video chat app and those who said at the time that this may eventually make Hangouts less attractive to users were right. The app was primarily built to take on Apple’s free video chat app Facetime. Yesterday though, Google officially unveiled the app in a blog post where it described the app as a simple 1-to-1 video calling app for everyone which actually means Android and iOS users.
One cool feature we might say is a video preview of what they caller might be up to which gives you a hint as to why they want to talk to you in the first place. Called “knock Knock”, this is Truecaller on steroids if you like for video calls. This feature is not available to iOS (iPhone) users currently.
Another great feature according to the Google post is that “call quality adjusts to changing network conditions to keep you connected — when bandwidth is limited, Duo will gracefully reduce the resolution to keep the call going smoothly. For video calls on the go, Duo will switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data automatically without dropping your call. You can start your call at home, and continue seamlessly even when you head out the door.”
How it works
When you install the app, it grabs your number from SIM information and sends you a confirmation SMS. Before you start thinking of WhatsApp, it doesn’t create a special account for you more special contact lists.
You make video calls to people in your contact from your phone number. So sometimes on WhatsApp, someone you don’t know may send you a message but WhatsApp notifies you that this person is not in your contact which leaves you with the option of block or add to contact. As for Duo, the person needs to be in your contact list for you to be able to call them or for them to be able to call you. The sad part is that you can’t use it as it is for video conference calls.
It’s simple to use as you just have to tap on the contact you wish to call and that’s you using Duo.
What does this mean for Hangouts?
While this may spell doom for Hangouts, Google is not ready to let Hangouts go like that. Google’s vice president of communications division, Nick Fox told Verge in an interview that “Hangouts will continue to exist with a more tightly focused mission: serving enterprise users…. “it will increasingly be more integrated with Google Apps suite.” It will still be available for consumers, of course, but those users won’t be the focus of future product development.”
Hangouts will now focus more in enterprise solutions.
Google also announced Allo in May. Allo is basically modelled on WhatsApp’s phone number chat model only it has Google Assistant (Artificial Intelligence) built into it and in Google’s own words, “it’s based on your phone number, so you can get in touch with anyone in your phonebook.