App of the Week: Google Duo

This week’s app is for those who like the quality of the video chat feature on the iPhone (FaceTime) but whose friends don’t all have iPhones.

Google Duo

I’ve tried many video calling apps — from Skype to Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts to WhatsApp. They all have fun features including text chat, but eventually fall flat on what they’re meant to do — a simple video call that doesn’t suck.

Enter Google’s Duo! It’s a simple — cross-device — video calling app for smartphones and tablets that doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles the others do, but it freaking works!

I use video calling pretty much daily to speak to out-of-town relatives or for work, so I’ve been able to use Duo quite a lot. And I love it.

Here’s what the app looks like once you’ve installed and set it up:

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Contacts you’ve most recently called will show up on the main screen in addition to a button to find all your other contacts. Since you won’t have made any recent calls yet — you won’t see the two buttons on the right of the “contacts” button as you see above on my screen.

You can make both audio or video calls with Duo. You just have to toggle between the two prior to making a call.

On the top-right of the main screen you’ll see three dots stacked vertically indicating that there is a menu there. When you click on it you will see three options, one of which is “settings”. In the settings screen, you can choose what notifications you’d like to receive or any numbers you’d like to block.

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Once you’re ready to make a call, click on the contacts button on the main screen and choose a contact you’d like to call. If they’ve got Duo, they’ll show up at the top of the list, otherwise, you will see an “invite” button to the right of your contact’s name so that you can send them an invite to install Duo and get chatting!

Duo_redactLet me know what you think of Google’s Duo or if you plan to try it out!

See you next week for another awesome app!

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