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Google Debuts 'Duo,' Its Cross-Platform Video Chat App

Google Debuts 'Duo,' Its Cross-Platform Video Chat App - Google Inc. NASDAQ:GOOGL, Google Inc. NASDAQ:GOOG

Google, owned by Alphabet Inc GOOG 0.38% GOOGL 0.38%, has launched its one-to-one video chat app Duo for Android and iOS.

In Duo, a user is not required to have a Google account as the app is tied to a phone number, Google explained in a recent blog post. Google explained, "You shouldn't have to worry about whether your call will connect, or if your friend is using the same device as you are."

Google claims Duo has a simple interface, fast and reliable connectivity with a "human" touch. Users just need to tap the other party's number to start a video call. If a contact is not using Duo, an SMS invite can be sent to access Duo.

More importantly, Duo has a feature called Knock Knock, "which lets you see live video of your caller before you answer, giving you a sense of what they're up to and why they want to chat." Also note, that Duo can't do group calls as it's meant only for one-to-one calling.

"Knock Knock makes video calling more spontaneous and welcoming, helping you connect with the person before you even pick up," Justin Uberti, principal software engineer, wrote on the Google's official blog.

On the security front, Uberti said all Duo calls are end-to-end encrypted, while users can flip between WiFi and cellular networks without dropping a call.

In its review, Engadget said Duo is even simpler than Apple Inc. AAPL 0.02%'s FaceTime, and far simpler than Google's own Hangouts app, which the company says will now be more focused on business and enterprise users.

"Once you're on the call, you just see the person you're talking to, with your video feed in a small circle, not unlike Apple's FaceTime. Tapping the screen reveals the only UI elements: a hang-up button, mute button and a way to flip between the front and back cameras," Endgadget said.

Further, Engadget said Duo is "refreshingly uncluttered and has a clear sense of purpose. It doesn't fundamentally change the video-calling experience, but it is frictionless and very easy to use on a moment's notice."

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