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With FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Messenger and more, you might not think there’s much room left for yet another video chat app, but Google believes there is. The company is today launching Duo, with iOS and Android apps.

The USP of Duo is that it’s designed to do one job as simply as possible: one-to-one video chat. It’s also optimized for slow connections, switching seamlessly between WiFi and mobile data.

Duo is simple from start to finish. To get started, all you need is your phone number and you’ll be able to reach people in your phone’s contacts list. No separate account is required, so you can sign up in just a few steps. From there, you can instantly begin a video call with a single tap.

We’ve built Duo to be fast and reliable, so that video calls connect quickly and work well even on slower networks. Call quality adjusts to changing network conditions to keep you connected — when bandwidth is limited, Duo will gracefully reduce the resolution to keep the call going smoothly. For video calls on the go, Duo will switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data automatically without dropping your call. You can start your call at home, and continue seamlessly even when you head out the door.

It does have one feature of note, ‘Knock Knock,’ which allows you to see a live preview of the person calling you before you answer the call.

The free iOS app is expected to be available for download later today – at the time of writing, it’s showing up as a preview.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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