Oh would you look at that! Google’s video chat app Duo is out already [UPDATE : Audio only coming soon]

UPDATE : Audio calls support “coming soon”

At Google I/O this year along with a lot of other interesting things Google announced it’s messenger and video calling apps named Allo and Duo saying they will be available sometime later in the Summer. And it looks like later in the summer has finally arrived as Google officially announced on its blog that the video calling app Duo is rolling out now. There’s no word on Allo yet.

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The app can be downloaded from the Playstore via the link given here, although it still says ‘Pre-Register’ for me.

UPDATE : Here’s an APK link.

If you don’t remember or did not hear of it already, Duo is a simple, cross-platform 1-on-1 video chat client and it is a bet on simplicity rather than features. Based simply on your phone number rather than a Google or Facebook account, without all the complications and baggage of Hangouts or even Facebook’s Messenger app, Duo simply isn’t tied up to any messaging platform and is quite barebones. All it does is let you do video calls without worrying if it will connect or if your friend uses the same mobile platform. Just tap a contact and the call is made.

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The app has a ‘Knock Knock’ feature wherein you can see the person calling you even before you pick up the call but they can’t see you. It’s nice for figuring out whether you want to take the call or not but it can be annoying for some. Luckily it can be just as easily disabled. A lot of people have made a fuss about Google’s lack of end-to-end encryption on all apps. On Duo, that’s not an issue, as all calls are encrypted from end-to-end.

Google uses a protocol called QUIC in Duo that allegedly allows for better video quality than competing video chat services. Duo can detect poor WiFi quality and flip over to mobile data seamlessly as well. Google says Duo will start showing up for download now, and will be available worldwide in a few days. We’ll update with an APK link as soon as it’s available so stay tuned.

Audio Only Calls

Generally, the video chat app does well in it’s main aim, Video calls, but because that’s all it does and there are no more advanced features, people are a bit down on it. However, one extra feature seems to be on the horizon. It’s now come to light that the app will soon be updated to support audio calls.

One of the nice features of Duo is that it will automatically scale the video quality based on your connection speed. However, unlike FaceTime on iOS, you can’t make audio only calls as at the moment, only video is supported. But according to a recent comment by Google’s product lead for communication Amit Fulay, it looks like this feature will be coming eventually. Google has said that eventually it will even fallback on audio-only if the connection gets too bad. But, those on limited data plans also would like to have the option to forgo video all-together and go for audio only calls and a Google employee has confirmed that will soon be an option.
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Fulay was also asked about the possibility of getting group video chats and other customization features that users like, but he didn’t respond to any of those questions.

6 thoughts on “Oh would you look at that! Google’s video chat app Duo is out already [UPDATE : Audio only coming soon]

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