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Google Duo Is Great, But Video Chat Is Still Super Awkward

August 16, 2016 | Telepresence Options


Story and images by Wired

MY PHONE BUZZES as a call comes in. I don't recognize the number, but that's normal. What's weird is it's a video call, from someone using Duo, Google's video chat app available today for iOS and Android. I probably know this person, because they'd need my number to make the call. So it's almost definitely not a nude stranger.

I take a sec to check my hair, ensure I don't have food in my teeth, and position the camera to avoid filling the frame with chins. By the time I'm ready to take the call, I've missed it by a long shot.

After using Duo for about a week, I can say it is among the best video-chat apps around. Google's clever back-end work lets you switch from Wi-Fi to cellular with just a brief stutter. It's as stable as any video chat I've used, even on crappy connections.

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