Google’s video calling app adds useful feature you don’t get with FaceTime

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Google Duo
Google Duo has added video voicemails.
Photo: Google

Google Duo, the FaceTime rival video calling app from Alphabet, has received an update adding an often-requested feature that FaceTime still doesn’t offer: video voicemails.

That means that, should you try and video call a person who doesn’t pick up, you can still record up to 30 seconds of video and send it them. These video messages can easily be played inside the Google Duo app. Check out the video explainer below.

Google’s FaceTime rival

The cross-platform Google Duo debuted back in 2016. It’s got a few nifty features which make it competitive in the (admittedly packed) video calling space. For one thing, it uses your phone number, so you don’t need to setup a new account to use it. It’s also end-to-end encrypted, and powered by WebRTC and something called QUIC so that your calls are more stable.

In addition to the new video messages feature, Google Duo also boasts something called Knock Knock, which lets you see your caller and what they’re doing before you answer.

The video messages feature is something that lots of people have requested Apple incorporate into FaceTime, but which it has yet to actually implement. True, you can send video messages by recording a video with your iPhone camera app, or Apple’s dedicated Clips app, and then share it via iMessage. However, the ability to leave a video voicemail just streamlines the process that little bit.

Google Duo gives you the opportunity to save video voicemails you particularly enjoy, as well as making it easy to call someone back with the tap of a button. You can download the app for free from the App Store here.