Google Duo is by far the simplest video calling app I’ve used, but I don’t think I need it yet

By Anirudh Regidi / 17 Aug 2016 , 10:43

Google Duo is yet another video calling app trying to nudge its way into the video calling space. The app’s USP is the quick and easy setup — no login required. It also offers encrypted communication and Google’s intelligent algorithms that will scale video quality to bandwidth.

It does sound intriguing, doesn’t it? I don’t use video calling much myself, and when I do, Messenger and FaceTime have been more than adequate. Installing the app is as simple as installing any other app. You go to either here or here, depending on whether you’re on iOS or Android respectively, and install.
Once installed, you agree to the terms and conditions, enter your phone number, enter the confirmation code once received, give the requisite permissions and that’s it! This I can get used to. Setup is as simple as setting WhatsApp or Telegram and there are no login details to remember. The only reason I stopped using Skype was that I could never remember my username or password.


Tapping on the video button throws up your contacts and those on Duo and those not are segregated. You can send invites to the latter or simply tap on the former to chat with them. It’s a simple enough UI and I quite like the simplicity.


I went ahead and decided to chat with my cousin for a bit. He was on a bus and on the move (signal varying between 3G and 4G), while I was pacing the office balcony, dropping in and out of Wi-Fi range. I can’t think of a more ideal scenario for stress testing Duo’s capabilities, barring a 2G trial of course. He was on a Xiaomi Mi 5 and I was on an iPhone 6S Plus.

The results were surprising. The app would intelligently switch between Wi-Fi and 4G, notifying me when it did. The video would cut out when switching, but Audio remained mostly intact. I could see the video quality degrading as my cousin moved in and out of 3G and 4G, but as before, audio remained intact. I was also pleasantly surprised by the fact that there was no noticeable lag in the audio and video streaming and conversations felt like they were happening in real-time.

My battery hit the 20 percent mark while chatting and as expected, the iOS’ Low Battery Notification popped up. At the same time, Duo offered to turn off video to conserve battery. This was a nice touch.

I’m impressed. The app is very fast and responsive, setup was a breeze and the calls were handled very well. However, I don’t know if I really need the app yet. All my Friends are on WhatsApp and for whatever limited video calling I do, Messenger and FaceTime have more than adequate.

The sheer convenience of Duo might convince me to change my mind, but if WhatsApp were to get video calling, I doubt I’ll bother with something like Duo.
Source  - Firstpost

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