Google rolled out its latest app on Tuesday—a video calling service called “Duo.” Strangely enough, it is completely separate from Google’s other communication services including Hangouts, which already supports video calls.
This latest offer from the tech giant is focused on simplicity. The app only supports video calls between two people and does little else. With the market already saturated with similar services, it will be interesting to see whether Google will be able to get this one to stick. Here’s how Duo stacks up against its rivals:
- Availability: The Google Duo app can be downloaded for free on Android and iOS devices.
- Convenience: You just need to input a phone number and give the app access to your address book. It isn’t connected to any of Google’s other communication services, and because it’s so new you’ll likely have to request that a friend download the app before you can call them through it.
- Performance: If you’re moving around it will automatically switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data without dropping the call. There is also a “Knock Knock” feature that allows you to see the caller before you answer.
- Availability: Available for free on Apple products—iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, and Mac computers.
- Convenience: Using this feature requires an Apple ID and an email address which, if you’re using an Apple product, you likely already have. It works with your address book rather than having to make a call through a separate app. If you receive a call, you can answer on any one of your Apple devices.
- Performance: You can easily switch between voice calls and video calls, and adjust the view from portrait to landscape or from front camera to rear camera.
- Availability: Skype can be downloaded on most mobile devices—Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, Amazon Fire Phone, and iPod Touch. It’s also available on various tablets, Android Wear, Apple Watch, and Xbox One.
- Convenience: You can link your Skype account to Outlook and GroupMe. Skype-to-Skype calls, group calls, and instant messaging are free. You can either pay as you go or buy a subscription to access other features including calls to mobile phones and landlines.
- Performance: You can add up to 25 people to a group call and, unlike Google Duo and FaceTime, can instant message during a video session. Skype also offers screen sharing, call forwarding, voice messages, and a translator.
- Availability: Video calling is available through Messenger to anyone with a Facebook account. It works on three browsers—Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera.
- Convenience: Video calling works both on a web browser and through Facebook’s mobile Messenger app.
- Performance: Unlike FaceTime and Google Duo, Facebook recently announced that group calls of up to 50 people are now available through the service.
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