You Can Now Make Google Duo Calls Directly From Google Assistant

Make A Video Call With Google Duo from Google Assistant

Google Assistant has grown by leaps and bounds over the course of 2018 with more skills and actions.  Some of those have been in Android, some of those in Google Home, and expansion of both has been happening globally.  Now another new feature is available for Assistant users on Android:  The ability to make Google Duo video calls straight from it.

Now, instead of having to open up the Google Duo app on your phone, you can simply open up Google Assistant and say, “Hey Google, make a video call to…” the person you want to call.  Once Assistant confirms the contact and number, you are dropped into Duo to have your call.

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Google Duo Can Now Be Installed on A Few Chromebooks

Google Duo Installer on Chrome OS

Earlier this week I posted an article on an update to Google Duo which brought the ability to register your Gmail account on multiple devices to use the video chat app.  It was a big win for the app and a feature that was sorely needed.

The next obvious question was if Duo could be installed on a Chromeboook that is capable of running Android apps?  It could prove to be a great win for Chrome OS and provide users the option to use the video chat app not just on a mobile but on their laptop too.  The answer is yes, but it is extremely limited right now.

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Google Duo Finally Adds Multi-Device Support

Google Duo for Android

After weeks of rumors that the feature would be coming, Google Duo has finally added the ability to use the video chat app across multiple devices.  The new feature is a combination of an app update as well as a cloud-side update from Google to enable it.

First, you need to make sure you have the latest version of the app.  That was released yesterday and is build 36.1.202022753.DR36_RC15 for those keeping score at home and who like playing Google Version BINGO!  Once you have this version, you will shortly thereafter get a cloud-side push from Google.  You will know that you have received that Google update when you are prompted in Duo if you want to use your Gmail address instead of your phone number to sign into Google Duo.  That is key because that’s how multi-device support works in the app.

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Google Duo Adds Video Messaging Feature

Duo Video Messaging

Google has brought a new feature to their consumer video calling app, Google Duo.  The new feature is video messaging.  Now when you call someone using the app and they do not answer (or declines your call), you can leave up to a 30 second video message for them.  You can also leave them a voice only message if you prefer.

If you receive a video message in Google Duo, all you need to do is tap their avatar in the app.  The message will then be played and you can tap the Call Now button to call them back.

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Elevate Calls to Google Duo in The Google Phone App

Video Calls via Duo in Google Phone

It has taken a few weeks but the ability to elevate a call within Google Phone to Google Duo has now rolled out to everyone.  The feature allows you to switch a phone call from a voice only call to a video call with a touch of a button within the Phone app.  But, as you would suspect, there is a catch.

First, you and the person you are calling has to be using the latest Google Phone app and the latest Google Duo app.  The latter of these isn’t so tough as you can download it from the Play Store.  The former, however, isn’t so easy.  Many manufactures have their own phone apps and you can’t install the Google app.

Assuming you can get past the apps issue, the other gotcha is that both you and the calling party have to have Duo installed and registered with the mobile number you are calling.  It is only under these circumstances that you’ll see the video call option in the Phone app.

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Google Engineer Confirms That Google Duo Consumes 8MB per Minute of Usage

Google Duo for Android

When it comes to video calls on any app, the question for many is just how much data is this app consuming?  In the case of Google Duo, it isn’t much for what you are getting.  Google’s Justin Uberti, a principle engineer with the company and the technical lead on Duo, Tweeted that in the case of the video calling app, it consumes about 8MB per minute.

That means that a 5 minute call is going to consume roughly 40MB of your data plan while an hour long call would be roughly 480MB.  So is that a lot?  Well, not really for the quality of the calls that Duo produces.

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Google Allo Can Now Uplift to Google Duo With A Tap

Google Allo with Google Duo Button

Google’s consumer messaging app, Google Allo, has another update rolling out that brings the ability to uplift your chat conversation to a video call with a single tap.  The update, version 14.0.037 for those keeping score, now has a button in the upper-right corner in the messaging screen that to launch Google Duo.  So if text-based messaging isn’t getting the conversation done, you can now place a Duo video call without having to launch it separately.  The new feature is aimed to bring the two apps more closely together but also to make communication more frictionless.

For those new to Android, Google Allo is Google’s text-based messaging app while Google Duo is their video calling app.  Both are focused on the consumer market while Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Video, the completely revamped versions of what is now known as Hangouts Classic, is for the enterprise space.

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Audio Only Calls Rolls Out to Google Duo Globally

Audio Only Calls in Google Duo

After being announced and released in the Brazilian market last month, Google Duo now has the ability to make audio-only calls for all users worldwide starting today.  The update is mostly a server side change but you will need to make sure you have the latest version of Duo installed on your phone.  For reference, that is build 9.1.151636499.  Once the update is on your Google account, you will have a toggle panel at the top of the display in the app where you can switch between video and audio calls.  To place an audio only call, just tap the New call button and select who you want to call.  As with video calls, the person you want to call must have Google Duo installed.

The addition of voice calls to Duo is a bit odd and, frankly, speaks to the ongoing confusion that Google has around their message apps and their roles.  Duo was originally setup to be the video call app for consumers with Google Allo being the message app with Google Assistant built in.  With the addition of voice calls to Duo, it is out of it original role a bit although you could argue it is still a real time communication event. Regardless of the logic, Google needs to clean up their messaging around their messaging & communication apps.

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