Recent Launch of Video Chat for Android
Last week Google Duo launched. Duo is Google’s attempt to break into the video chat market, that’s currently dominated by sapps like Skype and Apple’s FaceTime. The launch of Duo comes at an interesting time with the recent launch of Instagram Stories from Facebook. Much like Duo, Instagram Stories brings nothing new to the table in terms of features or functionality. It just means that you can stay in the same app. Or in Google’s case, stay within the Android platform.
Google Duo, while similar to Hangouts, seems to be more focused on the personal communication end of the app spectrum. A key difference is that it runs from a phone number, rather than a Gmail or Google account details, making it a mobile-only application for now.
Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery
Apple’s FaceTime, which is present on all iOS devices, proves that there is space in the market for video communication apps outside of Skype. By launching Duo Google will hope to achieve similar levels of market penetration. However, it comes with one extra bonus – you can download Duo onto your iOS device too.
While it has not yet been officially stated, it seems safe to assume that new Android devices will come with Duo automatically installed. With Android claiming an 85% market share of all smartphones, that is a lot of potential users.
Google Duo Launch Coincides with Instagram Stories
As mentioned above the timing of this launch coincided with Facebook-owned Instagram’s launch of Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories is a direct response to Snapchat’s video chat app. The intention from Instagram is clear; they want to kill Snapchat. Snapchat has a very narrow focus (namely, sending short video clips that disappear after a short amount of time, or after they have been viewed). This narrow and unique focus allow them to create a finely tuned, popular app. But Instagram is clearly hoping that user laziness will win out and people will prefer to have one app instead of two.
The same intention is clear with Google Duo. Why download Skype if you already have Duo? While many users will still take the time to download Skype and log in (especially if they are using it elsewhere in their lives), there will be some who won’t bother. Google will be hoping that they try their video chat app instead, and get hooked. Just as Instagram is hoping in that 12 months everyone will have forgotten Snapchat ever existed…
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Photo credit – Top: Wiki Commons
Photo credit – Bottom: Google Duo Screenshot