Is Google Duo The Answer To Facetime?

Is Google Duo The Answer To Facetime?
Image credit: Entrepreneur India

Google has finally entered the video calling app line – and it’s impressed everyone reviewing the app so far with its classic simplicity. Google Duo works on iOS as well as Android and offers unlimited free video calling to anyone else using the same app on their device. Sure, this may sound like atleast a dozen apps that you may already have installed – but is it really? Here’s a complete review:

Key features

Essentially, the app offers you the ability to video call someone in your contact list with just one tap. Actually, that’s literally all it offers. The design follows the same format as WhatsApp, which means you don’t have to know anyone’s secret code or email or send them a spam email to include them – if they’ve installed the app they would instantly show up in the list.

It also offers the ability to intelligently switch from WiFi to cellar data so you can continue a call when you enter your home as well as when you leave it. When the bandwidth is low, it will reduce the video resolution to keep things moving. 

The most fundamental difference is the “knock-knock” feature. This is like a virtual key-hole, which allows you to see the other person’s video before you actually answer the call. Thus, you can prepare yourself as you seem fit essentially before picking up the call.

What’s missing?

Google fails to answer why anyone would want yet another video calling app to their already cluttered smartphone. Sure, Duo is cross platform and much better than Skype because it doesn’t require you to know someone’s email ID to add them, but then again so do hundreds of other apps. 

Relying solely on phone numbers to talk to each other can be privacy risk. Middle men messengers like Skype at least offer you the ability to keep your phone number hidden because they use a Skype ID or email to register. Here, the target audience is only known people, who already have your phone number.

Should you install it?

There’s no reason not to install this app! Sure, it doesn’t offer literally anything new that hasn’t been invented already, but it has the potential for growth – just like WhatsApp. Maybe if everyone gets on
the platform, it would be significantly better and newer features would be introduced. Thankfully
the working interface isn’t cluttered and full of spam like Snapchat. End to end encryption makes you feels secure of the communications as well. Go ahead and give it a shot. Let’s hope this doesn’t end up as another failure by Google trying to clone an existing popular service, such as Google + did.

(This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (September 2016 Issue)

Edition: November 2016

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