Google has announced a new one-to-one video calling app for iOS and Android called Duo, which the company says aims to take the complexity and frustration out of video calling.
Users of Duo sign into the app using just their phone number and Google then sends them a confirmation text. After that, users can video call anyone in their contacts list who also have Duo installed.
Google says Duo is built to be fast and reliable, so that video calls connect quickly and work well even on slower networks.
Call quality adjusts to changing network conditions to keep you connected — when bandwidth is limited, Duo will gracefully 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. You can start your call at home, and continue seamlessly even when you head out the door.
Apart from its simplicity, Google is heavily hyping a feature (currently limited to Android) called "Knock, Knock", where a known caller's live video can be transmitted before the receiver has answered, allowing them to reveal things on the screen to entice the person to accept the connection.
Once they do so, the video continues seamlessly, which makes video calling "more spontaneous and welcoming, helping you connect with the person before you even pick up," says Google. The company has made no mention about whether the feature will be coming to iOS - and even if it did, users would have to unlock their iPhone first before taking a call.
Google notes that Duo isn't a replacement for its other video calling app, Hangouts, which it hopes will appeal more to enterprise users as the service is further integrated into the Google Apps suite.
Google Duo is a free download that should be available on the App Store for iPhone sometime today. [Direct Link]