Well, it could be too early to predict and compare the usefulness of Google Duo in comparison to Skype and other competing video calling apps. It has been just a week and we may need to wait to see how it develops.
One of the features that score for Google Duo is the simplicity it provides you. The interface is quite clean and neat with practically no clutter. The app works with your phone number and thus there is no need for any username or password. In that sense, it is comparable to WhatsApp. There is no complicated setup procedure involved in the app unlike other video callers out there.
Google Duo aims to do what WhatsApp did with SMS. It is following what is called low entry barrier. Yes, it could be an issue to convince people to join a new service just for video calling, more so with the existing apps planning to come up with video calling features. WhatsApp is a clear provider in this context. They have already ventured into voice calling, and now intend to introduce video calling by the last week of August this year.
There are some positive notes with Duo. It does adjust itself with the quality of network available to you. You will get uninterrupted and seamless video calling experience that does not fade away, or vanish with the change in the network. It can switch seamlessly between WiFi and cellular data.
Lack of a desktop client could be a feature that could work against Duo. A Mobile Only approach has been the Google plan - at least as of now. They may come up with different approach later on. You will not be able to use it on multiple devices with a single account.
Group calls are not offered currently on Google Duo. However, Google has not ruled out the possibility of introducing it soon. It says the app is still new and may evolve later.
And yes, I would treat the cross platform nature of the app as one of the strongest points in its favour. You will be able to make video calls across operating systems and that would form a point for making decision in installing Google Duo.
As a comparison, I would see FaceTime as the lone competitor for Google Duo when it comes to clutter free video calls. The Facebook Messenger makes it a little less intuitive to use video calling feature. Even Skype has much cluttered interface. The single button approach will definitely a great feature in favour of Duo.
The users won't need to enter the contacts on Google Duo manually. It will access your contact list on your phone just like WhatsApp would do. Other apps like Skype would need you to enter the contacts manually.
Having said all that, I would still maintain that these are early days as far as the success of Google Duo is concerned. Let us give it some time till it gets its acts right. GFor now, the app looks promising.
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