FaceTime video chat competitor Google Duo released for iOS, Android

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2016
Google on Tuesday released its new chat client Duo, promising high quality video between iOS and Android users with the free download now available on both the iOS App Store and Google Play.




Google Duo was announced in May, and is cross-platform between iOS and Android. No Google account is necessary -- connections are made between users' phone numbers after a one-time SMS verification.

The app provides mitigations by decreasing video quality for varying speeds of connections. Calls made on Duo are end-to-end encrypted.

Setting it apart from FaceTime, The "knock knock" feature in Google Duo shows the call recipient a live stream of who's calling and the surroundings of the caller before the recipient confirms the video chat request.

Initial AppleInsider testing showed an initial period of negotiation between devices, with the video quality oscillating between very good and poor -- but the initial "knock knock" stream was consistently bad and severely pixellated. This negotiation period lasted about 10 seconds after the recipient accepted the call on both 4G and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, with consistent good quality thereafter.




Announced at the same time as Duo in May was Google's Allo chat service. Allo is not yet available.

Google Duo is available now, requires iOS 9 or greater, and occupies 28.2MB of device storage space.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,399member
    Three uses of the word "initial" in this paragraph... Just sayin".

    "Initial AppleInsider testing showed an initial period of negotiation between devices, with the video quality oscillating between very good and poor -- but the initial "knock knock" stream..."


    elijahgdysamoriamike1jay-tnolamacguylolliverjony0
  • Reply 2 of 38
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,449member
    Doesn't Tango already do this to varying degrees? And Skype? Or does this work natively with Factime? Or is this just Googles FaceTime offering?

    i have to say, this is where Apple's marketing genius comes into play -- "FaceTime" is a brilliant term that perfectly describes the technology. Even Tango works, or Skype which is a new word that means specifically that.

    "Duo"? Let's Duo. I'm gonna Duo you later. Do you want to Duo? We can Duo if you want.

    Did no one think through his branding?
    SpamSandwichdysamoriaradarthekatpotatoleeksoupcalielijahglolliverjony0badmonk
  • Reply 3 of 38
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 1,006member
    If that screenshot is Google Duo's best quality, they've got miles to go until it matches FaceTime. 

    FaceTime seems to work quite well when it actually rings, the negotiation speed is much improved in iOS 10. About half the time however the callee's phone doesn't ring, and there's no indication of the failure at all on the calling device, making it pretty much useless unless you pre-negotiate FaceTime over a normal call. Handoff between (Apple) access points is pretty poor too, with the call often dropping when switching.

    Other than that I find it's generally very clear and very little lag, and the integration into the phone app is good.

    Apple did promise to open the FaceTime API when it was introduced, but no cigar. Unfortunately a communications platform just doesn't work unless it's cross platform, you can't restrict yourself to only calling iOS device owners! iMessage has automatic fallback so not so much of a problem cross platform. 
    edited August 2016 williamlondon
  • Reply 4 of 38
    Google taking a page out of Samsung's playbook.

    Throw anything at the wall and see what sticks.
    dysamoriacalilolliver
  • Reply 5 of 38
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 2,283member
    Duo, huh? I guess Apple will have to create a FaceTime upgrade that includes more than two participants...
    elijahg
  • Reply 6 of 38
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 425member
    This is a "FaceTime competitor" in the minds of Google execs. And nowhere else.
    edited August 2016 radarthekatpotatoleeksoupcalilolliverjony0
  • Reply 7 of 38
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Google taking a page out of Samsung's playbook.

    Throw anything at the wall and see what sticks.
    Charles Darwin wrote a book about the effectiveness of throwing stuff at a wall and seeing what sticks.  He concluded it works rather well.
    singularityhtatc
  • Reply 8 of 38
    elijahg said:
    If that screenshot is Google Duo's best quality, they've got miles to go until it matches FaceTime. 

    FaceTime seems to work quite well when it actually rings, the negotiation speed is much improved in iOS 10. About half the time however the callee's phone doesn't ring, and there's no indication of the failure at all on the calling device, making it pretty much useless unless you pre-negotiate FaceTime over a normal call. Handoff between (Apple) access points is pretty poor too, with the call often dropping when switching.

    Other than that I find it's generally very clear and very little lag, and the integration into the phone app is good.

    Apple did promise to open the FaceTime API when it was introduced, but no cigar. Unfortunately a communications platform just doesn't work unless it's cross platform, you can't restrict yourself to only calling iOS device owners! iMessage has automatic fallback so not so much of a problem cross platform. 
    Duo is not ideal app for cross platform functions either. It is only for iOS and android. It doesn't work in Windows or Macintosh. With Skype all the bases are covered. Duo is redundant and unnecessary. 
    potatoleeksoupcalilolliverbloodshotrollin'red
  • Reply 9 of 38
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,179member
    How many messaging apps does Google support now? Like 16? Its like they introduce 2 more every month.
    ericthehalfbeecaliwilliamlondonjay-telijahgdamonflolliverDarth Siduxbloodshotrollin'red
  • Reply 10 of 38
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,132moderator
    cnocbui said:
    Google taking a page out of Samsung's playbook.

    Throw anything at the wall and see what sticks.
    Charles Darwin wrote a book about the effectiveness of throwing stuff at a wall and seeing what sticks.  He concluded it works rather well.
    Over long periods of time, sure.  But a lot of things get eaten along the way.
    genovelleslprescottnolamacguylolliverjony0badmonkbloodshotrollin'red
  • Reply 11 of 38
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,105member
    slurpy said:
    How many messaging apps does Google support now? Like 16? Its like they introduce 2 more every month.
    Yeah it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. Not sure if Google intends for this to replace the similar Hangouts video chat but if not then I've no idea why Duo is needed. 
    potatoleeksoup
  • Reply 12 of 38
    croprcropr Posts: 961member
    elijahg said:
    If that screenshot is Google Duo's best quality, they've got miles to go until it matches FaceTime. 

    FaceTime seems to work quite well when it actually rings, the negotiation speed is much improved in iOS 10. About half the time however the callee's phone doesn't ring, and there's no indication of the failure at all on the calling device, making it pretty much useless unless you pre-negotiate FaceTime over a normal call. Handoff between (Apple) access points is pretty poor too, with the call often dropping when switching.

    Other than that I find it's generally very clear and very little lag, and the integration into the phone app is good.

    Apple did promise to open the FaceTime API when it was introduced, but no cigar. Unfortunately a communications platform just doesn't work unless it's cross platform, you can't restrict yourself to only calling iOS device owners! iMessage has automatic fallback so not so much of a problem cross platform.
    Duo is not ideal app for cross platform functions either. It is only for iOS and android. It doesn't work in Windows or Macintosh. With Skype all the bases are covered. Duo is redundant and unnecessary. 

    Duo is linked to the mobile phone number, so it only works on smartphones,  I just done a small test and it works perfectly between iOS and Android on the Wifi of my company.  Did not try yet the handover to 3G/4G.
    An Android the Knock Knock function is integrated on the welcome screen, even if the app itself is not running (that is cool), but on iOS the Knock Knock function only works when the app is active.
    holyonehtatc
  • Reply 13 of 38
    gatorguy said:
    slurpy said:
    How many messaging apps does Google support now? Like 16? Its like they introduce 2 more every month.
    Yeah it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. Not sure if Google intends for this to replace the similar Hangouts video chat but if not then I've no idea why Duo is needed. 
    Google has no idea either. To a bunch of engineers, it's fine to make a bunch of similar services. To everyone else, it is confusing.
    caliwilliamlondonlolliver
  • Reply 14 of 38
    That "pre-call viewing" / knock-knock video stream is just dumb. It's basically not fair, if that makes sense. Until both parties agree to chat, no one should be visible. It is just weird to have one party able to sit there and "spy" on the call-initiating party. I think that in that way it is kind of creepy. It was a bizarre decision that I think Google made solely as a way to differentiate, not as a way to improve on video calling.
    calilolliver
  • Reply 15 of 38
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,985member
    cnocbui said:
    Google taking a page out of Samsung's playbook.

    Throw anything at the wall and see what sticks.
    Charles Darwin wrote a book about the effectiveness of throwing stuff at a wall and seeing what sticks.  He concluded it works rather well.
    I wonder how many people actually know where that saying comes from? It's supposed to be 'spaghetti thrown at a wall'  because when it's properly cooked it'll stick but not before. 
    gatorguylostkiwi
  • Reply 16 of 38
    holyoneholyone Posts: 391member
    mac_128 said:
    Doesn't Tango already do this to varying degrees? And Skype? Or does this work natively with Factime? Or is this just Googles FaceTime offering?

    i have to say, this is where Apple's marketing genius comes into play -- "FaceTime" is a brilliant term that perfectly describes the technology. Even Tango works, or Skype which is a new word that means specifically that.

    "Duo"? Let's Duo. I'm gonna Duo you later. Do you want to Duo? We can Duo if you want.

    Did no one think through his branding?
    Thats google for you, so funny, I mean the dumb word sounds so close to something suggestive : "I'm gonna do you later" who works at that place?
    calibadmonk
  • Reply 17 of 38
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,105member
    That "pre-call viewing" / knock-knock video stream is just dumb. It's basically not fair, if that makes sense. Until both parties agree to chat, no one should be visible. It is just weird to have one party able to sit there and "spy" on the call-initiating party. I think that in that way it is kind of creepy. It was a bizarre decision that I think Google made solely as a way to differentiate, not as a way to improve on video calling.
    Ummm, if you're calling someone to invite a video chat how is it spying? You're not calling someone else to spy on them, you're the one whose permission is being requested.  TBH if the number isn't familiar I'd rather know who is calling and from where to video chat before agreeing to do so. I suspect you would too if you're honest. That's one of the few features that actually differentiates Duo from most other services and it's a useful one. 

    EXAMPLE: You get a video chat invite from an unknown number. You've just stepped out of the shower. Dang sure ain't taking that one... until you see it's your wife. Oh, well then that's OK. 
    edited August 2016 singularitydamonfhtatcDarth Sidux
  • Reply 18 of 38
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Why is there even an article on this irrelevant thing? Free advertising?

    That "pre-call viewing" / knock-knock video stream is just dumb. It's basically not fair, if that makes sense. Until both parties agree to chat, no one should be visible. It is just weird to have one party able to sit there and "spy" on the call-initiating party. I think that in that way it is kind of creepy. It was a bizarre decision that I think Google made solely as a way to differentiate, not as a way to improve on video calling.

    Google creepy? Nah!
    williamlondonlolliver
  • Reply 19 of 38
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,612member
    Google taking a page out of Samsung's playbook.

    Throw anything at the wall and see what sticks.
    I can't speak to the confusion caused by the alleged multiple services performing the same or similar functionality, but it makes sense for Google to offer a FaceTime replica that supports Android. There are a lot of Android owners out there and I am sure a good portion of them want FaceTime functionality and easy of use and quality. Given that Duo gives them that any FaceTime user who also communicates with Android user will obviously move over to Duo. This is where proprietary technology becomes a problem rather than a solution.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 20 of 38
    holyoneholyone Posts: 391member
    That "pre-call viewing" / knock-knock video stream is just dumb. It's basically not fair, if that makes sense. Until both parties agree to chat, no one should be visible. It is just weird to have one party able to sit there and "spy" on the call-initiating party. I think that in that way it is kind of creepy. It was a bizarre decision that I think Google made solely as a way to differentiate, not as a way to improve on video calling.
    Have you seen people's faces when on the phone and waiting for the other person to pickup? that's that kind of face you'll be staring at whilst deciding whether or not you wanna talk to that person, so dumb
    lolliver
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