Google Releases Duo Video Chat App

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Google Duo, a one-to-one video calling app similar to FaceTime, launched today on iOS and Android.

"Duo takes the complexity out of video calling, so that you can be together in the moment wherever you are," software engineer Justin Uberti wrote in a blog post.

Introduced at Google I/O in May (alongside smart messaging app Allo), Duo is based on your existing phone number, and taps into your contact list—making it easy to begin a video call with a single tap.

"We all know how it feels when a call fails to connect or when video gets choppy," Uberti said. "We've built Duo to be fast and reliable, so that video calls connect quickly and work well even on slower networks."

Call quality automatically adjusts to changing network conditions: Limited bandwidth? No problem. Duo reduces the resolution to keep the call moving smoothly. The app also promises seamless switching between Wi-Fi and cellular data without dropping the conversation.

"You can start your call at home, and continue seamlessly even when you head out the door," Uberti boasted.

Plus, the Knock Knock feature shows users a video preview of who's calling, so you can decide whether or not to engage with a friend at a crowded party or your parents on the living room couch.

All Duo calls are end-to-end encrypted. It's rolling out now to Android and iOS devices, and will be live globally in the next few days.

Companion messaging app Allo, meanwhile, "learns over time to make conversations more expressive and productive," Google engineering director Erik Kay said in May. Characterized by its natural language function, Allo can suggest text and photo replies based on previous conversations you've had, in language you would use. With security components like an incognito mode, end-to-end encryption, private notifications, and message expiration, Allo is expected to arrive soon on iOS and Android (you can pre-register now on Google Play).

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