Google rolling out Duo 5.0 with major video quality improvements


When Google released their brand new video chat app Duo this Fall, they aimed to provide an experience that was simple and could provide uninterrupted and good quality video and audio regardless of your location or connection strength. And with downloads on Android hovering around the 10 million mark, it shows that if nothing else Google has peaked the interest of a lot of users. A major update is starting to roll out now that will provide a number of benefits.

Join us after the break for the details.

To get you up to speed with some background information, Duo works with your phone number and provides a 1-1 video calling service that’s compatible with both Android and iOS. It’s basically Google’s answer to Apple’s FaceTime, although it has a number of features that sets it apart.

First off, what Google marketed heavily was the seamless and uninterrupted experience thanks to a lot of clever background algorithms. The internet connection that a user has can fluctuate at any given time depending on available bandwidth, location, whether they are connected to WiFi or LTE (or even a slower connection), etc. This can pose a number of issues with things such as video calling as drops in connection can pixelate or even freeze the video altogether. What Google has done is have Duo constantly monitoring the network you’re on and will make seamless changes in the background to the video to make sure you can continue your chat without interruption.

Another unique feature is something called “Knock Knock.” The way this works is when someone is calling you with Duo, the user on the receiving end will see a live preview of that person’s video before they even answer the call. Google says this is to provide a deeper immersion into the call and connection you have with that person.

Justin Uberti, who is the technical lead for Duo, posted on his Twitter what to expect with the Duo 5.0 update. The biggest one he mentions is “major video quality improvements.” Since video quality with any app of this type varies from call to call, and connection to connection, it will be interesting to see how obvious the changes are across the board for all types of users.

Other updates in Duo 5.0 include a simpler way to sign up, a more seamless transition when switching between the front and back cameras, and fix for a bug some users had when there would be no sound in a call.

App update rollouts for Google are often a pretty slow process, so you may not see this in the Play Store right away. But it’s nice to see Google following through with pretty regular updates to brand new apps such as Duo. If any other new features not already mentioned are spotted in this update we will surely let you know.

Source: Justin Uberti (Twitter)

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About the Author: Kevin Arnold

Kevin has been obsessed with technology ever since the days of playing with commands in MS-DOS. As a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology where he studied a combination of New Media Programming and Photography, Kevin lives in New York City where he works as a photo retoucher. His first "smartphone" was the good old LG Voyager with its slide-out physical keyboard. The first Android device Kevin owned was the now-infamous HTC Thunderbolt, which he still has in a drawer somewhere. Currently rocking both the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, Kevin has a (un)healthy obsession with phones and has owned more than he can remember. When he's not shopping for a new phone, Kevin enjoys lots of food and wine, video games, astronomy, and the Big Apple.