Yesterday started at global launch of Google Duo, one of the two most anticipated applications of this year after it was announced at the last Google I / O. It is not yet available to everyone on Google Play, but it can be tested without problems by downloading and installing the APK.
From the first moment the truth is that the other application, Allo, took a bit more prominence than Duo. After all, while Allo focused the novelty on add something new to what we already knew, the assistant, Duo was focused rather to remove everything superfluous, adding the little trick of the “Knock, Knock” mode so that we wouldn’t notice so much.
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What Duo does and doesn’t do
For newcomers, a summary. Google Duo is a new video calling application that serves only and exclusively to do one thing: make video calls from one person to another. Many of us thought that Google had too many messaging and communication applications, to which Google responded by giving us two more cups.
The Google Duo feature description fits on a sticky note, and that is that it does absolutely nothing else other than a call from A to B. It does not have text messages, stickers, emoji, statuses and not even its own contact list, since they are based on the mobile contacts. It also does not have a user account, linked in this case to a very “WhatsApp” phone number.
One account per mobile
In an age where communication in the cloud is what takes place because we have more and more devices, Google gives us more or less the opposite: an application whose user “account” is linked exclusively to a device and a phone number. There is no place in Google Duo, at least for now, for cross-platform.
Similarly, while messaging apps compete fiercely to see who has the most features, Google decides to create a spin-off from its main messaging app, Hangouts, which does one thing only: call. Imagine for a moment that someone calls you in Duo and you cannot answer at the moment, how do you respond? Well you will need another application.
Hangouts puts on his tie
Now the plan is beginning to be discovered. Master? Google for Hangouts. The application that once replaced Google Talk has become over time too boring and victim of featuritis. Hangouts is not coolIt never was, and no matter how Google tries, you don’t often hear young people say “Hey, call me on Hangouts and we’ll meet!”
Google’s solution must be recognized that it is quite original. Instead of facing head-on communication monsters like WhatsApp, Messenger or Skype, they have created a small, simple, lightweight and easy-to-use application without compromise. You no longer have to go through the suffering of using your Google account, adding contacts and initiating a video call from the chat.
Ok ok, the truth is that it’s not that difficult to use Hangouts either, but we must recognize that we live in a society where we have so many options around us that if something does not satisfy us instantly we simply turn our backs and use another option. By making the process somewhat simpler and, above all, fast, Duo already earns many points.
And what about Hangouts? For now Google’s intentions are keep it focused on the professional environment, where it integrates seamlessly with the Google Apps for business account. And, as it is, if someone wants to continue using it for their day-to-day communications, they are free to do so.
Is it Google Duo cool or for fools?
So the big question after trying Google Duo is, does it really get to be “cool”? The answer probably varies for each person, but for my Google Duo instead of being cool what gives me is fear. Fear that in the future technology in an attempt to be accessible to all will cross the fine line between being easy to use and “for dummies.”
Here it is necessary to make some qualification. Of course, it is okay if an application is designed to be as easy and simple to use as possible. The problem comes when technology is followed simplifying year after year trying to adapt to an audience that is not increasingly stupid (on the contrary, increasingly accustomed to technology) but rather has less patience to learn anything. “Give me the big buttons and on the first screen, eh? I don’t want to think.”
This is exactly Google Duo. As soon as you open the application, the image of your face is already shown through the webcam. There is only one button, lest you be scared: Video call. Touch and call. You couldn’t see something so simple from toy phones with animal sounds. “The cow says looooooot.”
If we continue at this pace, in a few years we will speak to our cell phones from guttural screams exclaiming “EAT!” to receive restaurant listings and we will have to install 300 applications because they will all do one thing. Blessed is multitasking, but there is nothing wrong with finding a balance between simplicity and number of functions.
Will Duo succeed?
With all this, the time for predictions has come. Will Duo succeed? Will Duo overshadow Facetime or other more widespread video calling services? Will we hear people exclaim on the street “call me on Duo later!”?
There are several factors that will influence the answer. First, if video calls finally reach WhatsAppAfter all, WhatsApp and Messenger already cover a good portion of the bulk of users worldwide. If I already have an application to make video calls, why do I want another? If WhatsApp announces your video calls tomorrow, Duo will most likely not last long.
The second factor is its availability. The fact that Google Talk, and later Hangouts, were pre-installed on almost all Android devices greatly influenced its expansion. Similarly, there are rumors that both Allo and Duo will come pre-installed in future versions of Android. This would be a point in your favor since when making a video call you would probably still have Messenger, Skype, LINE or other similar applications, but also Duo, which does the same and somewhat faster. A couple of seconds or fewer taps can be the difference.
Like any communication application, Duo needs to go viral in a way to survive in the long term. Nobody likes to “spam” their contacts into installing something that they can already do with another app, so much of their future is being forged right now, at a time when a lot of people should be eager to try it. If not, once the initial excitement subsides, chances are that everyone will go back to whatever they used before, if they really used video calls frequently, that’s another topic.
In Engadget Android | Google Duo and its video calls come to Android Download its new application now! [APK]