This week Google officially released brand new application that breaks video calling barrier between iPhone and Android devices. Just before we go into details about this app, lets take a brief look at the history of video calling feature.

FaceTime is now six years old, when Apple unveiled the video calling ability in iPhones in 2010. At that time, Steve Jobs said he had dreamed of mobile video calling since he grew up watching “The Jetsons” and “Star Trek.” Apple later expanded FaceTime to work with iPads and Macs, among other Apple products.

Google started mobile video calling several years ago with Hangouts app, which also includes messaging and voice calling capabilities. Over the last few years, Google has increasingly offered its software and internet services, including Google Maps, Google Photos and Google Docs, to iPhone customers. All of those apps were as alternatives to Apple’s apps, like Apple Maps, Photos and Notes, because they are supported on a wider variety of devices including Macs, Windows PCs, Android and iOS devices.

Duo is no exception. It lets you place video calls between Android and iOS users, and increase the list of people with whom you can have a video conversation to. When you launch the Duo app, there is just a single video call button you can tap on. It loads your contacts list from there you can choose whom to call. Video starts streaming as soon as the call is placed, meaning that the person you are calling will be able to see before picking up. Google calls this feature Knock Knock. It can be disabled in case you have friends who are likely to make middle finger gestures.
Comparing it with a FaceTime, you place a call directly through the iPhone’s contacts list or through the FaceTime app. The recipient doesn’t see video streaming until the call is answered.

Duo works really smooth and video calls quality looks simply better when compared to Viber or Skype. Just keep in mind that picture quality may vary depending on the network traffic and internet speed, especially when more people starts using it.

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Google Duo
for iPhone/iPad

Google Duo for Android

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