Back in March, Google unveiled audio-calling in Duo but limited it to users in Brazil. At the time of the announcement it promised to bring the feature to the rest of the world “in the coming days,” but the global rollout took a little longer than expected. Nearly three weeks later, it’s finally arrived.
To make an audio call, simply switch the toggle at the top of the screen from video to audio. Like video calling, audio calls works over cellular and Wi-Fi, and is meant to be used “in those moments when video calling isn't an option—like when you’re about to hop on a crowded bus or have a poor network connection.” As Google describes, “Duo audio calls work well on all connection speeds and won't eat up your data.”
Google Duo hasn’t exactly been a runaway hit for Google, but it’s an important app in its arsenal. Essentially Android’s answer to Facetime on iOS, the app lets you easily set up a video call for anyone in your address book, provided they have the app installed first. And where Facetime is limited to Apple products, Duo is available across both platforms.
Calling for change: While the addition of audio calls in Duo is certainly useful, it doesn’t do much to help Google’s scattered messaging strategy. There are way too many apps and services to keep track of, with numerous overlapping features and functions. We’d love to see a unified system put in place that lets us chat and call from a single app, while keeping our conversations synced and accessible from any of our devices, but we're afraid that dream might be remain elusive for years to come.