Google has been putting in work when it comes to adding new and necessary features to the company’s various messaging platforms. Just recently, Google expanded its enterprise-focused Meet video conferencing to include any and all users with a Gmail account. This came at a pinnacle point in time as so many of us are still acclimating to teleworking and remote learning. In addition to being available to the masses, Meet added some great functionality features such as 16 person grid-view, low-light mode, noise cancellation, and more. Google Meet is great but for consumers, Duo would still be my first choice.
The mobile-centric video chat platform has added some robust new features over the past few months. AR effects, in-call photos, end-to-end encryption, and now, up to 12 people in a chat all make Google Duo a user-friendly, highly-capable video messaging platform that’s easy to use and available everywhere. Soon, users will even be able to make group calls on Duo for the Web which will make it as well-rounded as many of its competitors.
In January, Google announced that Duo for the Web would now allow users to join video chats without the need for an attached phone number. All you need is a standard Gmail account. With that, you can head to duo.google.com and create or join a video call. Users and also invite you to a Duo call with just your email. Today, with no formal announcement, Duo on Android tablets will now allow users to make and receive calls with the Android app with only an email attached. Since most Chromebooks support Android applications, this is also true for Chrome OS. I was able to install the Duo app from the Play Store onto my Pixelbook Go and then, log into Duo with an alternate Gmail. I was able to make calls without the need for linking my phone number.
On the mobile side of things, a new setting has popped up for Android phone users that will allow them to be contacted on Duo via an email address instead of a phone number. In Duo’s settings, you can click the three-dot menu at the top right and select settings. Click “Account” and you should see a toggle for “Reachable with email address.” These updates along with web-based group calls will make Duo my go-to video chat platform 100% of the time so long as the group isn’t larger than 12. One other notable update to Duo is the new graduation effect that will help you celebrate the grads in your life. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It’s fun.