FaceTime is a distinctive feature of the Apple iPhone. Besides iMessage, it is the best way to communicate with others, as long as they are using an iPhone. But not everyone does, and that’s where Google Duo, with its availability for multiple platforms, comes into the picture.
Google, despite its deep roots in Android, makes some of the best third-party alternatives to the original iPhone apps and services — Chrome, Google Photos, Google Calendar, and more. Google Duo is located right in this camp.
But is it good enough to replace FaceTime? After using Google Duo on iPhone for the past few weeks, here’s what I think.
FACETIME – IOS Integration
FaceTime is designed for the iPhone. It just works on it. Open the FaceTime app, and you’re good to go – it’s that simple. Apple has also polished it to near perfection over the years, and that translates to fewer bugs and issues.
In Google’s favor, Duo requires little effort to set it up on the iPhone. Once you install it and provide the required permissions, you are pretty much done. But as a third party app, there is always reason to worry that it might crash at the worst of times.
GOOGLE DUO – AVAILABILITY ON PLATFORMS
Outside of the iPhone, FaceTime is only available for iPad and Mac. This is perhaps his greatest strength and weakness. You have a service that works flawlessly on Apple devices, but when it comes to chatting with contacts on Android, consider yourself lucky.
On the other hand, Google Duo works on iOS and Android. So you can connect with anyone regardless of platform. It also has a web version, so you can Duo with PC and Mac users as well. If there is a solid reason to use the app on your iPhone, this is it.
FACETIME – QUALITY COMMUNICATION
Call quality is largely subjective as a lot depends on network conditions. But, FaceTime calls always look amazingly clear, videos rarely get stuck, and lag issues are few and far between.
For a third-party app, Google Duo performed admirably well. I had no connection issues, and the audio and video calls sounded great. But I encounter annoying delays more frequently than FaceTime.
FACETIME – conference calls
FaceTime and Google Duo both support group calls. But Apple knows its hardware and software best, and that’s what it shows. FaceTime allows you to group chat with up to 32 people at once. This is unreasonable.
On the other hand, Google Duo’s cap of 12 people per conference call (still a lot) feels poor in comparison. If you plan to chat with dozens of people at once, stick with FaceTime.
GOOGLE DUO – SEND MESSAGES
FaceTime serves one purpose – to video chat or voice chat with others. Google Duo takes things even further with its ability to send video, audio, and text messages.
It takes some getting used to performing the swipe down gesture, and you can start recording or composing your messages. Once done, you can easily send it to your Duo contacts. The app allows you to share things from your photo library.
But since you can do all this with ease with iMessage, you won’t miss a thing with FaceTime.
FACETIME – Better privacy
Apple made FaceTime. Apple is known for its strong stance on privacy. Google, on the other hand, has a proven track record of collecting data. And the fact that you have to give Google Duo permissions to your contacts, camera, and microphone feels awkward.
Google Duo even has a scary (and privacy invasion) feature called Knock Knock that lets you watch a contact’s live video feed before answering their call and the same thing happens in reverse. However, you can turn it off.
Regardless, both FaceTime and Google Duo encrypt your entire calls. So no one should be able to snoop on your conversations.
GOOGLE DUO – SETTINGS BUILT
Almost all the original iPhone apps require you to dive into the Settings app whenever you want to tweak it. This applies to FaceTime. Do you want to block a user? You must make a long journey to the Settings app. Quite annoying.
But Google Duo has all of its settings, which includes a block list within the app itself.
It also has a few options not available in FaceTime, like the ability to limit cellular data usage and a neat low-light mode for better-looking video calls at night.
GOOGLE DUO – USER INTERFACE
FaceTime is very simple. But sometimes, it’s as if Apple has gone too far in that direction. Do you want to start a new call? You have to search for contacts manually, and that gets boring quickly.
In contrast, Google Duo lists all your contacts within the same home screen. People who have Duo set up on their phones appear at the top of the list. You can also invite people without Duo to get the app from the same screen.
FACETIME – SPECIAL EFFECTS
If you’re into special effects, nothing beats FaceTime. Not only do you get access to tons of special effects and filters (want to look like a comic, anyone?), but FaceTime also supports live animations.
Google Duo does not let you down and comes with its own set of effects and filters. The downside is that it’s not as good as the ones on FaceTime. Also, the app does not support animation – animation command. But hello, that’s just me.
Use both apps alike
FaceTime works better on iPhone, but Google Duo easily removes the barrier that prevents you from chatting with people on Android. And if this has been an issue all along, get Google Duo now.
Download Google Duo
However, you still have to rely on FaceTime a lot. Google Duo is available everywhere, but not everyone who uses iPhones has it installed or wants it.
My suggestion – use both. This way, you have the best of both worlds.