Google Duo was launched exactly a year ago. And it was touted to be a lot of things, most notably an app that would prove to be the end of Apple’s Facetime. Facetiming, which has been in vogue ever since iPhone 4 came out, has been a magical experience, no doubt, but even after an approximate 8 years of launch, it remains reserved for Apple users. It’s not the best thing in the world. Has Google Duo broken that Apple-Android wall?
How the features compare.
The arrival of Google Duo with much of the same features as Facetime gave a lot of ground for a faceoff between an established app that forms the USP of one brand and a newbie app from a brand that is easily the most influential company to come up in the history of the world. There is quite a lot that needs to be compared.
Video calling is what both apps are made for. Comparing the quality of the calls outright, Facetime has a major advantage. There is no telling how Apple manages crystal clear voice and video quality available over even less-than-optimum speeds of internet. Google Duo, on the other hand, still struggles with the occasional lapsed video or dropped/broken call. Even after a year, the quality is yet to become better than what many other apps can provide at this point.
Duo does redeem itself with a certain specific feature that often forms the USP of the app in a lot of peoples’ eyes. The Knock Knock feature lets you see who’s calling and when it’s urgent. It can potentially come in handy when you receive a call in the middle of something important. You can know if something more important has come up and respond as needed.
It’s fairly certain Facetime is an iOS only app. Facetime for PC is available for Macs. If you are a Windows user, however, you’ll need to use an iOS or Mac emulator to get to use the app. A short procedure can be found here.
On the other hand, Google Duo is available for iOS and Android through their respective application stores, and it 100% free. Getting Duo for your Mac or Windows PC is a different ballgame, however, and you’ll have to use an Android emulator to get the app on your devices. It is not really recommended, since emulators often slow down lower models of computers.
What matches, what doesn’t.
Both Facetime and Google Duo are apps with quite a pedigree. They’re easy to use and perform significantly better than most other video calling options in the market. Also of note is that these apps can be used to voice call your friends and family. But that is about where the similarities end. From looks to layout and also performance, the two apps have a world of difference.
Google Duo’s Knock Knock feature is a visible difference. Next salient point of divergence is the layout between voice calls and video calls. Facetime allows you to convert a voice call via the everyday, non-WiFi phone functionality to a video call. And the best part is, there is no lag! Tap a button and it’s like the video had only been disabled. I guess that’s the benefit of having the software and the hardware designed in the same organisation. Can something similar be expected in Pixel phones which are scheduled to arrive with Allo and Duo pre-installed, replacing Hangouts? It remains to be seen. For my Motorola, however, Duo doesn’t have any such functionality.
Where Facetime wins over Google Duo:
1. Facetime has been established for a long long time now. It’s in every Apple device, it is easily accessed and with seamless voice-to-video support, there’s no denying Facetime the advantages it claims.
2. Also important to note is the fact that Facetime is available on iPhones, iPads and Macs. As long as you are logged in through the same Apple ID, you can access the app from all the Apple devices you own.
3. Finally, it can be objectively stated that Facetime has a much more refined interface. The work they’ve put in in the past decade is evident.
Where Google Duo trumps Facetime:
1. Duo has an advantage of its own with the preview it lets you have of what’s happening on the other side before you pick up the call. If you’re calling someone, you can let them know what the call is about so they know how important it is. Called the Knock Knock feature, you can employ it to alert your brother in New Zealand when you’re cutting the cake with grandma of her birthday, or call your best friend when you want to break the news about getting hitched.
2. You can use Duo to connect with your friends irrespective of what device they have, as opposed to Facetime which you will only be able to use to chat with friends with iPhones.
It’s a lot to consider, but people with iPhones are the ones who have the most options. PC users too can use both Facetime for PC as well as Google Duo, though there are apps that operate for Windows and Macs just as well as for Android and iOS phones, such as Skype. My own opinion tilts somewhat to the favor of Facetime. What do you think? Which app are you more interested to install?
Author Shaira Williams