Google announced Duo last week, its new videoconferencing application which is simple, transparent and should provide the best possible video experience for mobile devices. Google built a cleaver app, ideal for anyone frustrated with poor quality video while chatting on the bus or at the bar. The big challenge is convincing your friends to download it and call you.
- Call Quality: optimized for the mobile space and leveraging Google’s version of H.264SVC for least latency
- Very little lag in the conversation, and the voice and video are more likely to stay in sync
- Network: switch between Wi-Fi and Cellular without dropping the call
- User Interface: almost transparent interface makes call connection simple, not clouded by extra functionality
- Compatibility: works on both Android and iOS
- Authentication: association with phone numbers skirts around login-access hassles
- Call Preview: “Knock-Knock” live video preview before accepting call may be its best feature (Brodeur, 2016)
- Product adoption: Duo is not a platform, so it does not work across applications. Your friends have to download the Duo application and opt to use it instead of Skype for example.
- No call escalation: Due is not slipped inside another application, thus the user have to launch a separate app instead of shifting from text to video chat like they can within a single application.
- Crowded space: Facebook and Snapchat are developing video inside their social experience. Skype, FaceTime, and even Google Hangouts are more familiar products. OoVoo is new, but it's niche is in the multi-party category (Brodeur, 2016).
Google is squeezing Duo into an already crowded mobile video-chat space, packed with behemoths and growing, over 15% in the past two years (Brodeur, 2016) and with all indications of skyrocketing over the next five. It is going to be a challenge to convince users that video quality matters enough on its own. Look for Google to integrate Duo with its newly announce smart messaging app Allo, the new G-board texting interface and Hangouts to reinforce Google's own social ecosystem.
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Brodeur, M. A. (2016). The Boston Globe. Duo App Keeps Its Focus Narrow. May 21st issue.
Google (2016). Official Blog. Retrieved from https://googleblog.blogspot.com/2016/05/allo-duo-apps-messaging-video.html