Google Kickstarts Duo Video Calling App

Google Kickstarts Duo Video Calling App
Android phone manufacturers will have to install Google's video calling app if they want other Google apps.

(CCM) — Google is planning to give its Duo video calling app a massive shot in the arm by making it part of the Google Mobile Services (GMS) package of apps that Google supplies to Android smartphone manufacturers. Manufacturers have to install all of the apps in the package or none at all, so any manufacturer that wants to install key Google apps, such as Gmail or Google Maps, on new smartphones after Dec. 1 will have to install Duo as well. The video calling app was launched in August for Android and iOS devices, but so far, it appears not to have gained much traction. By making Duo part of the GMS package, Google will ensure that millions of new phone purchasers who might not have heard of the app will be exposed to it.

Both Microsoft's Skype and Facebook's Messenger already provide cross-platform video calling, while Apple's FaceTime offers video calling only between iOS devices. But by effectively forcing Android phone makers to pre-install Duo, Google looks likely to gain a significant share of the market — on Android, at least — in a very short space of time. The company has also decided to demote Google Hangouts in its app portfolio: starting Dec. 1, manufacturers will no longer have to install Hangouts group chat and video calling app as part of the GMS package.

Image: © Google.