Google Duo now over 5M Android downloads in a week,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said. Google Duo, a video-calling app for one-on-one interactions, was made available globally on August 18. The app works on Android and iOS. Users need only their mobile number to sign into Duo.
The highlight of Google Duo is its network efficiency. Google’s Product Manager says “our app is reliable across networks, and works across platforms. So if your network is not that good, it will adjust the video definition accordingly, and Duo is smart enough to adapt to these conditions.” In our review, we said our download and upload speeds will make a difference to how well a video call goes on Duo.
Google wanted to create “as simple an experience as possible” with a “solution that is almost as simple as voice calling,” says Amit Fulay, Group Project Manager at Google.
The app can be installed in under a minute. Just type in your phone number, receive a confirmation text, and you’re done. Duo instantly syncs with your existing contact list, so there will be no need to repopulate your phone book manually. Calling is simple too, requiring only two taps, one for “call” and one for the contact’s name. Duo has virtually no fancy features or bells and whistles. The only standout feature is called Knock-Knock, a sort of visual caller ID that shows you a streaming video of the caller before you pick up. Knock-Knock seems like a great way to gauge the caller’s environment or mood before diving into the video chat.
Besides its simplicity, Duo also gets nods for working with very small bandwidths, making it a great option for rural and other low-service areas, as well as for developing nations.