Google debuted a new video calling app, Duo.  It’s a cross-platform mobile-only app with an incredibly simple interface.  You only need a phone number, rather than a Google account, to use the service and it has what they call a “knock-knock” feature in which users can preview who is calling them before answering the call.

Cross-platform video calling really isn’t anything new.  Facetime is limited to only iOS devices, but there’s Skype, Facebook Messenger, and even Google’s own Hangouts app that all have video calling capabilities.  An all in one app, like Hangouts, makes sense, however Google has said they are shifting the focus of Hangouts to enterprise customers.  Google has also explained that developing separate apps creates a more focused experience.  Duo and the forthcoming messenger app, Allo, will both feature end-to-end encryption.  I’m not sure that’s enough to get users to migrate away from the apps they are already using.  It may very well be the best mobile video calling app ever invented, but unless your contacts download it too, it is useless.


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