Google’s video calling app, Duo, is now allowing users to make calls to other people who do not have the app installed in their mobile devices or have not registered before with the service. This applies to both video calls and audio only phone calls as well. The recipients of Duo calls can answer by dragging up on the icon, put their mic on mute or shift cameras, and end the call by hanging up.
And if ever users accidentally navigate away from the app’s interface while engaged in a call, they can just tap a notification icon that instantly navigates them back. For those non-Duo users, they will get a prompt to install the app at the end of the phone call. Of course, there is also an option to block certain people from making calls.
All of the functionalities are made possible through a Google Play services feature called App Preview Messaging. This feature had first made its debut together with the launch of Google Allo in September of 2016. Via an early access preview program, Google had allowed a limited number of developers to utilize the App Preview Messaging feature, with a hint that that it would be made available to all developers of messaging apps later on. Since Google Allo had rolled out, it had always come with support for App Preview Messaging, including two way communication, although the interface was not yet consistent with Allo’s look. The design has since been updated for more consistency, despite the fact that some of Allo’s key functionalities are not yet present, such as the ability to edit the font size or support for attaching images or files. For more information about the App Preview Messaging feature, it might be best to head to Google’s developers page.
Having the ability to facilitate Duo calls even with recipients who do not have the app is certainly a good idea, and provides some measure of convenience, not only for the caller but also for those receiving the calls. Still, it should be noted that this is only possible in the Android ecosystem, which means that devices made by Apple or those handsets powered by other mobile operating systems will not have support. Nevertheless, the increased accessibility of Google’s Duo should give people more reason to actually start using the app, and that should present a win-win situation for the tech giant either way.
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