Update, 08:50 AM ET: Duo is now available for some users in the Play Store. Click on the download button bellow to check the availability on your device.
Original post, 2:53 AM ET: One half of the dynamic, um, duo of chat apps that Google introduced at I/O is finally here. Almost.
In a blog post, Google announced that one-to-one video calling app Duo would become available on Android and iOS starting today. The post was published late in the evening (Pacific time), so the app should be rolling out right now.
Currently the Play Store Google Duo listing only gives us the option to pre-register for the app. It’s very likely that Google is rolling Duo out gradually, to avoid virtual traffic jams and iron out any unexpected issues that can arise with a brand new service.
Google highlighted the simplicity of Duo, an app that lacks the bells and whistles of Skype or even Google’s own Hangouts. “Duo takes the complexity out of video calling, so that you can be together in the moment wherever you are,” said the company.
It sounds like Google wants to remove any friction that could potentially prevent users from using video calling – the Mountain View company cited research stating that half of all users never make a video call.
To be as accessible as possible, Duo doesn’t need a separate account. You can start using it with just your phone number, just like WhatsApp.
Simple as it may be, Duo is not completely barebones. One of its coolest features is Knock Knock, which basically lets you see the person who’s calling before picking up. You also get end-to-end encryption, which aligns Google with Facebook and Apple when it comes to protecting user privacy.
Very importantly, Duo works on Android and iOS, which will put it on collision course with Apple’s very popular FaceTime.
We’ll keep an eye on the Google Duo Play Store page and update you as soon as the app becomes available.
No word yet on Allo, the text chat app that Google introduced alongside Duo. It can’t be too far behind though.
Anyone here who’s got Duo yet? Let us know!