Today, Google announced a new video calling app called Duo, and it may just be the FaceTime competitor we’ve been waiting for. Or it might just be boring and basic.
It’s a companion app to the company’s messaging app Allo, and it’s similarly mobile-only:
After opening the app, you’re presented with a front-facing camera preview of yourself. You can then select who you want to call by scrolling through your contacts. Then tap your friend and, if they pick up, the video call begins. So that’s basically the same as FaceTime. But if it seems overly simple, that’s by design.
“You noticed the demo was super short and that’s because that’s all it needs to be,” Erik Kay, Google’s director of engineering, communications products, told the Verge after a trial run last week.
Duo comes with some neat features, like the ability to flip between Wi-Fi and mobile service without losing the call. There’s something called Knock Knock, which will let you see a live stream of the person who’s calling you on your lock screen. All calls also have end-to-end encryption. There is an obvious drawback, though: No video conferencing.
Google, says Duo will be released later this winter, and will be available for both iOS and Android.