Hands-On With Google's New FaceTime-Like 'Duo' App

This week, Google released a new app called Duo, which allows for FaceTime-style video calling. Unlike FaceTime, though, Duo allows for cross platform calls that work on both Android and iOS mobile devices, so it isn't limited to users who only have an iPhone. In the video below, we went hands on with Duo to see just how well it works and whether it's a serious FaceTime competitor.

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The Duo app is rather simple, with a similar interface on Android and iOS devices. You sign into the app using your phone number, and once logged in, you have a list of contacts to call pulled from the existing contacts in your phone. That's it.

When in a video call, you get many of the features you'd expect from a service like FaceTime, including mute, switching between the rear and front-facing camera, and ending the call. One new feature, however, is called Knock Knock, which is a sort of video caller-ID that lets the person receiving a call see what the caller is doing before answering. Think of it like a FaceTime video preview that's available before the FaceTime call is accepted.

Because Duo uses a phone number for authentication, the app is not available for the desktop, and you are only able to use one device associated with a certain phone number at a time. This may be a deal breaker for those who like to chat on multiple devices, but for those looking for easy video calling, it's worth a try.

We all likely know someone who doesn't use an iPhone, and Duo seems to be a good alternative for those looking for a FaceTime-like feature on Android. Duo is available from the App Store [Direct Link] and Google Play Store and can be downloaded for free.

Tags: Google, Duo


Top Rated Comments

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24 months ago

Apples brilliant plan of keeping FaceTime and iMessage only on iOS is pretty lame at this day and age. That's basically all an iPhone can do that Android can't. Yet there's a whole world of Android features that iOS cant do.


you're right, things iOS can't do:

• anti-virus
• hidden bitcoin miners for hackers
• ransomware
• ads on webpages that make your phone vibrate
• carrier bloatware
• malware from factory
• download your fingerprints from main memory
• make you signs up for an account that can track your web browsing (fully disclosed to google) if you just want to download Apps from the Store
• Force your friends to use Google Maps if you want to share your location. And if your friends send their location via a vCard, Google takes the libert of "converting" that open and interchangeable file to a closed and private Google Maps URL.
• apps you can't delete, but don't work without a Google/Apple account

And much more!
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Too bad FaceTime can't be deleted #BloatediOS


It can (iOS 10).

But don't worry, Google will make sure you don't delete Allo and Duo on your next phone (because that's the only way you'll ever get an update, even on relatively recent Nexus phones!)
Rating: 8 Votes
Avatar
24 months ago
Apples brilliant plan of keeping FaceTime and iMessage only on iOS is pretty lame at this day and age. That's basically all an iPhone can do that Android can't. Yet there's a whole world of Android features that iOS cant do.
Rating: 6 Votes
Avatar
24 months ago

GoogleRumours.

It's available on iOS so it's still relevant.
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why a "facetime-like" app, and not a "facebook's video calling" app? that's what it is, is it not?

What's the difference? They're all video calling apps. This is an Apple site so the more logical comparison is to FaceTime.
Rating: 5 Votes
Avatar
24 months ago

Apples brilliant plan of keeping FaceTime and iMessage only on iOS is pretty lame at this day and age. That's basically all an iPhone can do that Android can't. Yet there's a whole world of Android features that iOS cant do.


Apple doesn't have to give you access to things. Deal with it. And enjoy that malware.
Rating: 5 Votes
Avatar
24 months ago
Downloaded. Deleted.
Rating: 4 Votes
Avatar
24 months ago
I know Apple is big now, but look at RIM with BBM. They held out on making it cross-platform until they were well beyond irrelevant. I know it doesn't seem like it now, but the same could happen with iMessage/FaceTime.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
24 months ago

Apple doesn't have to give you access to things. Deal with it. And enjoy that malware.

No they don't, but Im on iOS so what are you talking about? The point is that Apple can hold out all they want, but someone will come out with the same or better features and make them cross platform. Obviously you are closed minded and stuck on iOS, because if you have used Android lately and are smart, you would know that malware isn't an issue like you make it.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
24 months ago
Biggest challenge for this? It's not pre-installed on either iPhones or Android phones. So to use it, users on either platforms have to be aware of the app to begin with, and then convince their friends to use it. That's really tough. It's like trying to push yet another messaging platform.

Next question is, when will Google shut it down?
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
24 months ago
I like it. Seems pretty cool. Cue the hate.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
24 months ago
Whatever happened to FaceTime becoming a cross platform open standard like Jobs wanted?

Upon the launch of the iPhone 4, Jobs stated that Apple would immediately start working with standards bodies to make theFaceTime protocol an "open industry standard".
Rating: 2 Votes
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