Google recently released Google Duo, one of the two communication apps (along with Allo), that the company announced at this year’s I/O. Duo is basically a simple, one on one, video calling application with simplicity and straightforward service being its main focus points. Does it, however, live up to the expectations? Let’s go in a more extensive review in order to find out.
Minimal But Not Simplistic
Once you install and open the application, you will only see one screen, asking for phone verification. After you complete the procedure you can immediately make your first call. Seriously, Duo requires no other login information and all that is presented in a user-friendly and intuitive UI.
During a call, only the necessary are visible. You can see yourself, switch cameras and hang up. It is also important to note that Duo offers end to end encryption. That means that your conversations cannot be viewed by Google or by any other third party in general.
That, along with the fact that Duo doesn’t require your Gmail account, are the main differences from Hangouts.
This is the only feature of Duo and although it may come handy for some I don’t find it particularly useful. With Knock Knock, the receiving end of the call can see a “preview” of the caller in real time. At the same time, the one who initiated the call gets a notification stating that the video is visible. The purpose of the feature is to give users the ability to see who is calling, before answering.
In my experience, however, seeing a video of the caller won’t make a difference on whether I answer the call or not. Having said that, you can disable anytime Knock Knock from the settings.
iPhone users have long been using FaceTime to communicate with one another. Will Duo change that? I doubt it. Duo doesn’t have any “killer” feature in order to appeal to longtime FaceTime users. Duo for iOS has, however, all the benefits of the Android application, offering end to end encryption packed in an intuitive UI.
There is a twist, though. iPhone users must have opened the app in order to see a preview with Knock Knock. The case is different with Android, as the feature is accessible from anywhere.
Overall, Google new video application does what it promised us, fulfilling the expectations about quick and easy video communication. Let’s see if together with Allo (which is a subject of another review), Duo will be able to accomplish what Hangouts couldn’t: Unified and easy communication.
Have you downloaded Duo? Did you like it or not? Is there anything we missed? Feel free to comment below.