Google Duo: All Things So Far
It's been about 3 months when Google announced and previewed the 2 brand new communication standalone apps Allo and Duo in I/0 2016. Allo being the messaging app and Duo primarily for one to one video calling app. Google said that the apps will be available in Summer (reference to US) and being slightly late has released Duo for public now. News about Allo is still awaited but being a heavy working app and Google assistant integration plus some major new different and out of the box features must be taking time for it to release, but we should expect it to be out soon.
Both Allo and Duo have again received icon changes and this time it totally looks Google style rather than being the old ones with texts in them as they were looking so odd and better to say not 'Googlish'.
Yesterday, all blogs across the internet posted about the news for Google Duo but the app wasn't still out on the Play Store and that's when AndroidPolice came to the rescue and dropped the APK. We also sideloaded but the thing with it was that SignUp process wasn't available for countries except US and Canada and this morning it worked and we could use the app. Now live on Play Store (Link)!
Firstly the app weighs under 10mb to download and that is something you really don't see with a video calling app but when we used the app we understood why it weighed so less. The user interface of the app is so light and clean with all fresh look with that blue and white color all over.
Once Signed in, you're welcomed with the cam which opens with front lens by default and a big Video Call button at the bottom which once tapped shows the list of people having and not having Duo. However, you can invite people to join Duo right from inside the app and you're done. Big thumbs up to Google for keeping things so simple and clean.
Now heading over to settings we have got a very compact menu here with very less things to change,
Vibrate While Ringing is self explanatory and you can enable/disable it as per your need but enabling is the way out.
Next comes the Knock Knock thing which is the main highlight of the app. Knock Knock is basically a feature for both Caller and Receiver, if it is enabled, The camera starts to capture the caller once he taps to call and the video can be seen at the Receiver's screen even before he picks up the call, Once he/she picks you're right into the call and till the pickup the caller can do crazy things and might make the receiver to pickup. Seems fun but can be awkward at times so you have the option to disable it too.
Limit mobile data usage will save your data with Google's intelligent mobile data saver which comes in Chrome too. Then we have Phone Number and an option to Unregister Phone Number that removes your account from Duo.
Being it a Contact Conversation app you must be wanting to block some numbers and that's what possible with Blocking them and you can see all the blocked contacts under this menu of Settings.
That was basically it for Settings and now let's head over to Video Call Experience.
Video Call Experience
Video call on Duo is by far the best experience you can get and to our usage we noticed the best audio quality and very minute amount of lag in the video however, the app is intelligently designed so that it can switch over to better network being it a WiFi nearby or 4G whichever performs better the call jumps over to that and it makes the experience more rich and smooth.
[caption id="attachment_4037" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Knock Knock![/caption]
Calling screen basically has 3 buttons and 1 toggle. The buttons include 1 Camera switch, 1 Mic Mute and 1 Call End button and all are aligned in L shape and can be hidden with just one tap on the video. The toggle provided is the Camera for Caller and Receiver where user can tap on the toggle and can see what he is been streamed as and can look over to himself/herself.
Note- We have tested Duo on the Moto G4 Plus and experience is subject to vary from network to device models. App seems to be working on Android 4.4+ only
Google Duo: All Things So Far Reviewed by Rajat Kapoor on 8/17/2016 09:35:00 pm
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