Over the past two years, Google introduced two messaging services that serve as replacements or accompaniments to Hangouts, which no longer serves as Google’s messaging hub. The first of these new services is Google Duo, a simple app that allows users to make video calls to other individual users. The hindrance of the service has been that many users don’t have Duo installed. That’s now changing, as Duo video calls can now be made to users without the app.
The feature, powered by Google Play’s App Preview Messaging, will allow non-Duo users to see the video call much the same as if they were using the Duo app, including a preview of what the caller’s camera is displaying. Once a call is ended, non-Duo users will see a notification prompt inviting them to download Duo for future use as well as a small notification that will allow users to block the caller from making future calls. The feature only works with Android devices and, for now, seems limited in which devices can receive calls. Phone contacts that can receive Duo calls will now appear in your Duo contacts list without an invite symbol next to them.
Alongside the change to Duo, Google is improving Allo, its messaging app. Google has used App Preview Messaging since its inception to send messages to non-Allo users. The messaging pop-ups were unsightly, but that has been refined in the latest version, which changes the pop-ups to resemble the Allo app, though many of Allo’s key features are unavailable.
With improvements to its messaging services, Google is clearly hoping to drive an uptick in adoption. In a saturated messenger market, however, that could prove to be a tough battle.
Do you use Allo or Duo? If so, leave a comment below letting us know what you think of these changes!