Knock, knock: Google launches video-calling app, Google Duo

Knock, knock: Google launches video-calling app, Google Duo

Coming soon

Knock, knock: Google launches video-calling app, Google Duo

Tackling the twin challenges of Microsoft’s Skype and Apple’s FaceTime, tech giant Google has launched its own video-calling app, Google Duo, for Android and iOS users. The roll-out began on Tuesday and should be available in India over the next few days, says Google in its blog.

Google’s catchline is that the Duo will take the “complexity out of video calling.” Explaining what this means to India, Amit Fuly, Google’s Group Product Manager, had this to say: “In places like India, it has been designed to adapt to the network connectivity conditions.”

The blog says the video calls through Duo will work well even on slower networks. “Call quality adjusts to changing network conditions to keep you connected. “When bandwidth is limited, Duo will 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.”

To get started, all that is required is a phone number. All the people in the phone’s contacts list across device types and platforms could then be reached without creating a separate account. A video call can be instantly triggered with a single tap, the blog post explains.

Knock Knock feature

A key feature of the app is ‘Knock Knock’ that allows people to see live video of the caller before they answer, helping users connect with the person even before they pick up. Knock Knock will make calls “feel more like an invitation rather than an interruption.”

On the Play Store, the app window currently shows a “Coming Soon” notice. But users could ‘pre-register’ Google Duo to get notified once the application is available in India. Globally, the app will go live in 78 languages.

Going the WhatsApp way, Google says it has incorporated end-to-end encryption of all Duo calls to ensure privacy and security. Both the caller and receiver will have to download the app on their smartphones to make the video call work. The app lets you to mute your voice. Besides, you could see how you look to the other person, a feature that is also available in Skype.

There is a shortcut feature in Duo. A call is initiated by just tapping on pictured circles that represent contacts who were recently called. Google had first made an announcement about Duo at its I/O developer conference three months ago.
 A market for video-calling and messaging feature in apps is still evolving since data charges are high and networks remain unstable, notably in India.

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