App Watch

By: Nick Gambino

duo 3Move over FaceTime and Skype because Google wants a seat at the table (well, actually another seat at the table) with their new video chat app, Duo.

Launched on Monday, Google Duo, is a video chatting app specifically for use on your phone. Unlike FaceTime this app doesn’t require both callers to have the same phone i.e., the iPhone. Instead it’s all done through the app which is available for both iOS and Android.

Now if it seems like Google already has a video-calling app that’s because they do. It’s called Google Hangouts or as I call it “Google Hang-Yourself.” My experience with Hangouts has been ripe with glitches, dropped calls and general confusion.

duo 2Duo on the other hand is promoted as “a simple 1-to-1 video calling app.” From an easy interface to contact list integration the whole thing is intended to make Duo the simpler choice. Or as Google puts it, “Duo takes the complexity out of video calling, so that you can be together in the moment wherever you are.” Aww.

Keeping in line with “simple,” there’s no need to create an account to get started with the app. All you have to do when you sign up is allow the app to check your phone number and respond to the confirmation text it sends you. That’s it.

Now other than the ease-of-use this does feel like another video chat app save one cool feature called Knock Knock. This feature allows a preview video of the caller before you answer so you can see what you’re about to get into. Callers can make faces, hold up a note, show you their…well, you get the point. Basically it’s a video version of knocking on the door.

duo 1Unfortunately Knock Knock is currently only fully available on Android, not iOS. iOS phones will only see the preview if the app is already open. There’s no word yet on when iPhone users can expect the full use of this feature.

Google Duo is rolling out worldwide over the next few days. Keep checking out the App or Google Play store in order to download it when it becomes available in your area.

What do you think of Google Duo? Do we really need another video-calling app? Tell us what you think on Facebook.