Google Challenges Face Time With Duo

I have to admit that one of the things that I love about Macs and iDevices is Face Time. The ability to have a video chat with someone easily is a real plus. But you have to have an iDevice or a Mac to use this feature which limits who you could talk to. Google has clearly seen that as an opportunity and announced a new one-to-one video calling app for iOS and Android called Duo:

Duo is simple from start to finish. To get started, all you need is your phone number and you’ll be able to reach people in your phone’s contacts list. No separate account is required, so you can sign up in just a few steps. From there, you can instantly begin a video call with a single tap.

Apart from its simplicity, there’s a feature (currently limited to Android) called “Knock, Knock”, where a known caller’s live video can be transmitted before the receiver has answered, allowing them to reveal things on the screen to entice the person to accept the connection. I can see that going sideways on so many levels.

What I don’t get is that Google has Hangouts which kind of does the same thing. My guess is that they are likely to change the focus of that app. But regardless, Duo will be available sometime today for download. One has to wonder if Apple will do something in response to this, as in make Face Time a cross platform app for example. We’ll see.

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