Google has released “Duo,” their new one-to-one video calling app for iOS and Android devices. The company says Duo “takes the complexity out of video calling, so that you can be together in the moment wherever you are.”
Duo is simple from start to finish. To get started, all you need is your phone number and you’ll be able to reach people in your phone’s contacts list. No separate account is required, so you can sign up in just a few steps. From there, you can instantly begin a video call with a single tap.
Duo is designed to offer fast and reliable video calling with a minimum of fuss, connecting quickly, and working reliably, even on slow connections:
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.
One intriguing feature of the new app, which is unfortunately limited to Android, is called “Knock, Knock,” where a known caller’s video feed is transmitted before the recipient has accepted the call, allowing the caller to entice the person to accept the call by including something interesting on the screen.
We designed Duo to feel warm and inviting, focused on just you and the person you’re calling. To make calls feel more like an invitation rather than an interruption, we created a feature in Duo called Knock Knock which lets you see live video of your caller before you answer, giving you a sense of what they’re up to and why they want to chat. Knock Knock makes video calling more spontaneous and welcoming, helping you connect with the person before you even pick up.
With the release of Duo, Google is offering a personal video chat app which it says is not a replacement for its other video calling app, Hangouts, which is aimed at groups, and enterprise use. Google says Duo was built with an emphasis on privacy and security, and all Duo calls are end-to-end encrypted.