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.So 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.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. Etiquette guides, pro tips, and unwritten rules govern the interaction.Video also isn't conducive to modern communication.
(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.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.It's as stable as any video chat I've used, even on crappy connections. If you've ever tried video chat, you know the pain of diagnosing connection problems, determining usernames, and figuring out how the app works. It's simple like phone calls, because Google imagines Duo as something like the evolution of phone calls.With Duo, all you do is call the person from the app. If you're on i OS, you get a push notification that someone's calling. On Android, Duo calls come through like phone calls, ringing loudly and taking over the screen.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.