What is the Google Duo Video Calling App?
App Store Description: “Google Duo is the highest quality video calling app. It’s simple, reliable, and works on smartphones and tablets” (Apple App Store). You literally click on a name in your contacts and if they have Duo, a video call starts. If they don’t, you can invite them to join with a link via text.
It’s Google’s answer for Apple’s FaceTime, which is especially useful for families with both Android and Apple devices, with a mix of smartphones and tablets. Other than the cross-platform benefit, it has a few enhancements over FaceTime, including:
- “Knock-knock,” which allows you to see the live video of the person calling before you pick up.
- You can leave a video message for someone who doesn’t pick up.
- You can make voice-only calls when you can’t chat over video.
- [April 2020 update] Duo allows for up to 12 participants in a group, video chat (up from 8).
- [April 2020 update] A new feature lets you quickly take a photo together and share it automatically with everyone on the call (only available on 2-person calls for now)
- [April 2020 update] Messages sent to contacts can be kept instead of disappearing in 24 hours.
Category: Social Media
APP Store rating: 4+
What do parents need to know about Google Duo?
Does Duo have hidden access to pornography? Not that we can find. Every link to Google kicks you out to Safari, where we hope parents have enabled Restrictions.
It’s classified as social media. COPPA would say this means kids need to be at least 13 to use this app, but with so few risks, parents can decide for themselves.
Is there predator risk in Google Duo? The PYE team has noticed a recent increase in receiving text messages from individuals who are clearly fishing for someone to click. “Tricky people” could easily send out Google Duo invitation links across a slew of random phone numbers, inviting them to chat. Parents, please prepare your kids for predators!
Duo has self-destructing photos. As of June 2019, users can send photos via Google Duo. It is being advertised as self-destructing photos, but it seems that you can only delete photos from your end and not on the recipient’s end. So users should be careful (as always) with what they send. This article has picture instructions on how to send and delete.
Duo allows for call history to be deleted. Google Duo call history can be deleted for each individual contact. However, if the account is set to sync call logs with your phone, then the call history will still be available there.
The 2020 pandemic prompted some updates. A family mode is available that features a doodle board and Snapchat-style filters. The mobile app allows group video calls with up to 12 people. The web version of Duo allows up to 32 users to participate in a video chat.
The bottom line – is Google Due safe?
COPPA might say that kids need to be at least 13 to use this app, but there just aren’t many risks. In Google’s desire to keep the app as simple as possible, this means they’ve created a pretty straight-forward app with Duo.
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