Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Google's New Video Telephony/VOIP App Duo Due Soon

Google's new app for Android and IOS is due in the coming days. In contrast to Hangouts this one will have end-to-end encryption and is only supposed to support private chats, that means only conversations between two people are supported. Hangouts on the other hand supports group chats of up to 150 people 'hanging out together'. It also used to be popular for online courses but falls down on the privacy front as records are stored on Google's servers, although data is encrypted in transit, and because people used to be able to just enter some chats.

With Duo, the trade-off for having end-to-end full encryption and privacy will be that it is not possible to sync conversations between multiple devices. This is the same with other popular services like Facebook Messenger (or otherwise that data would have to be stored somewhere and would not by definition be private any more). So at the moment it seems Duo would still have one up on Whatsapp which at present doesn't support video calling in the stable version. At the same time, the latest version 11 of Google's Hangouts had SMS/MMS integration disabled, which left a lot of users unhappy. This pulling of hard to integrate features, while a separate SMS Messenger was released a while ago, may hint at a future merging of the two Google apps.

You can now pre-register in the Android Play store to receive an email once Duo becomes available. It will not be connected to your Google account like Hangouts and mail service and will require a telephone number to register, positioning it closer to Telegram and Whatsapp.

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