Google Duo brings audio calling feature worldwide

Phones

by Gordon Gottsegen April 10, 2017 2:15 PM PDT @ggottsegen

Google's simple video calling app Duo just got a little more advanced. Google announced that it will bring audio-only calling to Duo users worldwide, after first introducing the feature in Brazil in March.

Duo is Google's take on Apple's FaceTime, with some important differences. First, while FaceTime can only be used between people with Apple products, Duo works on both iOS and Android devices. Second, FaceTime on the iPhone is built into the dialer, but Duo is a standalone app that isn't yet connected to the Android OS. Duo must clearly make up some ground.

Up until now, Duo was a one-trick pony that let you launch a video chat only. Now, being able to chat without video means you won't be forced to use up extra data or battery making a video call -- and neither will you if you're having a bad hair day and would rather be heard and not seen.

To use the new audio feature, open the Google Duo app and toggle the top switch from video to audio. We tried it, and it works.

Duo uses either Wi-Fi or cellular data to make calls, which makes it a good option for calling someone when you have internet, but no cell service. Although the audio-only option gives Duo a greater overlap with Google Hangouts, another messaging app that also includes audio/video calls over the internet, Duo is still a more focused, mobile-first option.

The addition of audio-only calls makes us wonder if Google will continue building out Duo, and which features might come next.

Google Duo makes video calling a whole lot easier

No FaceTime? No problem. With Google's Duo app, video calling between Android phones, and from Android phones to iPhones, just got way simpler.

by Lynn La

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CNET First Take

Google Duo Duo is Google's answer to Apple's FaceTime, and the company swears that the video-calling app is totally different than Hangouts.

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