Elias Pelcastre

We tried Google Duo, the search giant’s response to FaceTime

You know FaceTime, Apple’s video chat app for iPhone and iPad. Well, Google has just come up with a true rival: Duo.

Free for Android phones and, yes, iPhones, Google Duo wants to best FaceTime. Just like Apple’s app, Duo doesn’t require any configuration. Instead of an Apple ID, enter your phone number and Duo will automatically verify it by sending you an SMS.

Next, you will see your face on the screen as well as and a video chat button. Tap it to view all your contacts; you can invite them, and check who has Duo installed.

Google Duo

You can either turn the camera around, mute the audio, or hung up. That’s it.

I used Duo with eliaspelcastre.com’s Leonardo, and can say it blew our minds. I had crappy WiFi and 3G connections, and Duo let me switch between them to find out which one worked better. Video call paused while Duo adjusted to the new signal, and we didn’t even need to hang up.

Duo just worked. And “knock knock” made taking a call very fun: you can see who’s calling before you answer. That means you get to laugh at the funny face the person who’s trying to reach you is making. And I think Duo didn’t use a lot of mobile data; my pay as you go is still intact.

Duo just beat FaceTime by being available for iPhone and Android. The video quality was decent, considering, and I never had to hang up. Google just scored another excellent app. (A downside: Duo is just available for phones.)