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Etiquette guides, pro tips, and unwritten rules govern the interaction.Video also isn't conducive to modern communication.I'll probably cajole my girlfriend into using it, because she's the only person I video chat with and Duo is easier than Skype. But Google prides itself on tackling big problems with big solutions with the potential for big scale.Duo is Google's attempt to make video calling happen. Place a new call and the app offers two options: re-dial one of your most recent calls, or start a new one.If you have a -style bff you call anytime without worrying about whether you're in bed, having sex, or on the toilet, it's perfect. You can look into the camera and almost convincingly fake eye contact, but then you don't see the other person—and if she's also looking into the camera, you might as well not have cameras on.But my last few days with Duo have shown me another side to the story.Duo isn't trying to revolutionize video calls, it just wants to approach them from a more modern perspective, one that builds on our smartphone-carrying habits, our needs for immediacy, and our disdain for complexity.
(the Duo ad does a great job showing you all the cool things you can do with Knock Knock, but mostly I use it to make sure everyone's clothed.) Swipe up to answer, and you're on the call. You can use Duo to call anyone, but it seems designed largely for calling the same people over and over.
Almost everyone already has a video-chatting app, be it it Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Viber, Face Time, or even Google's own Hangouts.
It's hard to imagine millions of people embracing an app that does the same thing those apps do, especially when people don't do that thing much anyway. Once Google fixes its few bugs, it will be everything a video chat app should be.
In that way, video calling feels old-school before it's ever even cool.
Even if everyone decides to get down with video calling, Google needs to get tons of people to download the app if it is to become part of the world's messaging lexicon.
Just tap their pic on the homescreen and launch right back into it. In many ways, Duo is like Apple's Face Time, but for all platforms. You can look at his face, but then it's like you're sheepishly avoiding his gaze.