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Google’s recently-launched video calling app Duo will soon support audio-only calls, according to a Google employee.
Google first announced Allo and Duo way back in May of this year. Allo is Google’s new messaging app that’s not yet available, and Duo is Google’s attempt to take on Apple’s FaceTime. It’s essentially a one-to-one video calling app that supports high quality video and audio. Unlike FaceTime, however, Duo is available for both Android and iOS.
For those of you who were disappointed by the absence of audio-only calls on Duo, we bring you good news. In responding to a question on Google+, Amit Fulay – Google’s Product Lead for Communication – has confirmed that audio-only calls will come to Duo “soon.” Of course, we don’t know how soon is “soon”: it could be in weeks’ time or it could be way later in the year.
Quite frankly, I’m surprised that Duo didn’t launch with an audio-only option. Audio-only option is a feature that is already supported by Duo’s main competitors such as FaceTime and Facebook Messenger. Audio-only calls are especially useful when your Wi-Fi or data signal is particularly weak, or if you don’t want to consume too much data. Or when it’s just simply not appropriate to video chat.
You may be wondering why Google is launching Allo and Duo when it already has Google Hangouts. It seems as though Allo and Duo will gear towards mainstream consumers while Google Hangouts – which supports video and audio calls, by the way – will be refocused for business purposes.