Move over, FaceTime – Google Duo is here

August 17, 2016 5:16 pm

Erik Kay, engineering director at Google, introduces Allo and Duo on stage during the Google I/O 2016 developers conference in Mountain View, California. (Image: Reuters)

Google has launched a new application allowing video calls, creating a rival for apps such as Apple’s FaceTime, Microsoft’s Skype, Facebook’s Messenger and Google’s own Hangout app.“Today, we’re releasing Google Duo – a simple 1-to-1 video calling app available for Android and iOS,” Justin Uberti, Principal Software Engineer at Google, wrote in a blog post announcing the launch of the application.

“Duo takes the complexity out of video calling, so that you can be together in the moment wherever you are,” Uberti added.

Not to be too invasive, Google Duo includes a feature called “Knock Knock”, which allows a person to see a live video of the caller before answering the call.

“For video calls on the go, Duo will switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data automatically without dropping your call. You can start your call at home and continue seamlessly even when you head out the door,” Uberti said.

Google said the app will be available to users worldwide in the next few days.

With a saturation of video-calling apps, it might get confusing to know which is the best one to use when living in the Middle East. To make a primary distinction, below is a list of featuring differentiating Duo from its sister application, Hangouts.



Available on iOS and Android products

Allows one-on-one conversations only

Uses mobile numbers to make the connection without the need for special user names – so no separate account is required.

Call quality adjusts to network conditions. When network is weak Duo “gracefully” reduces the resolution of the call to keep callers connected and keep the conversation ongoing.

Duo calls are “end-to-end encrypted” to maintain privacy and security of the calls.

Knock Knock feature can be disabled or limited to a user’s contact list.

No audio-only option.

Can only be used on mobile phones or tablets.



Allows conference calls between multiple users

Can be used on desktop

Allows messaging

Reaches users through Gmail


AMEinfo Staff
By AMEinfo Staff
AMEinfo staff members report business news and views from across the Middle East and North Africa region, and analyse global events impacting the region today.