Google's Duo is another video chat service taking on Facetime, Skype
The search giant unveiled the app, called Duo, on Wednesday at its annual I/O developer conference held at the Googleplex Mountain View, California.
The goal is to make the person on the other end of the call more likely to pick up, said Amit Fulay, a Google product manager who demoed the app in an interview ahead of the event. The act of video calling takes so much coordination -- setting up a date and time -- that Google hopes just seeing a friend on the other end will spur more spontaneous communication. (If you're the one doing the calling, you won't be able to see the other person until they pick up.)
"This could have been my friend who just got engaged and she's showing me the ring," Fulay said after hanging up the demo call.
The app is another example of the tech industry's love affair with chat apps. Facebook, Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft and younger companies like Snapchat all have their offerings, as they flock to get more users on their mobile properties.
This isn't Google's first foray into video calling. The company still has Hangouts, another video chat service, but that app is based on people's email addresses. Duo builds your contact list by culling your phone directory see who else has the app.