Comparision

Google Duo vs. WhatsApp: Which App is Best for Making Video Calls

More than half of the world is under quarantine due to the COVID-19 virus. Many of us miss hanging out with our faraway friends and family. Fortunately, we can make video calls using apps like Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, Google Duo, and more. With a variety of apps available, one wonders to choose the best video calling app, especially with almost everyone you know on WhatsApp and Google Duo automatically syncing your contacts. To make your work easier, we are going to compare Google Duo and WhatsApp in this post.

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Are you looking for a video calling app that you can use to call your friends or family? Google Duo and WhatsApp are both good options. Google Duo, as its name suggests, belongs to Google. On the contrary, WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, which also owns Facebook Messenger.

In this post, you will find a detailed comparison between WhatsApp and Google Duo. Let’s check it out.

Availability across platforms

Availability across platforms is a unique selling point for video calling apps. Not everyone needs to be on your same platform.

Fortunately, Google Duo and WhatsApp are available across all major platforms. You can use it on Android, iOS, and even PC. Interestingly, Google Duo comes pre-installed on some Android phones as well. However, while Google Duo works on the iPad, WhatsApp doesn’t have an app for the iPad yet, although it’s in the pipeline.

WhatsApp has a desktop client (for both Windows and macOS) and it can be accessed via a web browser as well. On the other hand, Google Duo is available via web version only on PCs.

However, you can only make a video call from Duo on the computer. WhatsApp does not support desktop video calls.

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If you have a Google smart speaker like Google Home, Net Hub, etc., Google Duo will be your default calling app for audio and video.

Ease of access

Google Duo and WhatsApp only need the phone number to work. You do not need an email ID to create an account. Anyone who has your number saved in their phone will see you in their contact list on both apps. You don’t even have to add a person. Once you see them in your contact list, just tap on the contact option.

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However, if you are using the web version of Google Duo, you can contact people who use your Google account as well. You need to enter their number to call. If you want, you can associate your phone number as well.

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number of participants

Most video calling apps can make one-to-one video calls. What makes it different is the number of participants they allow in conference calls. Google Duo was earlier limited to 8 participants, but in March 2020, they increased the number to up to 12 people in a group video call.

You may feel frustrated to hear about WhatsApp, as it only allows 4 participants. However, some early reports indicate that WhatsApp is increasing the number of users in a group video call.

user interface

The interface of both apps is completely different. When you open Duo, you are greeted with a simple screen that shows the front camera view. Swipe up to see your Duo contacts. Tap on any contact to open the available contact options. You’ll notice that the main button is for the video call, making it easier for beginners to use the app.

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When it comes to WhatsApp, you will see the chat list on the main screen. You can either open a chat and tap on the video call option at the top. Alternatively, go to the calls tab and tap the video call button to start the video call.

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Communication features

WhatsApp is one app for all communication needs for personal use. You can use it to send people text messages, voice or video calls and even use them as a basic social media tool with the temporary status feature. On the contrary, Google Duo is basically a video calling app. Sure, you can make voice calls, but the app is designed in such a way that video calls are at the forefront.

Let’s check out the calling features you get in each app.

Messaging

Unlike WhatsApp which is known for texting, Google Duo does not support text chat in the truest sense. That is, you cannot send a regular text message to your contacts. However, Google Duo offers temporary messages in various formats that last for 24 hours. You can either record an audio or video message or send an image. You can even create and customize a note.

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Also, you can send a voice note on WhatsApp, but when it comes to video notes, Google Duo is way ahead of WhatsApp due to its easy nature. WhatsApp supports image sharing as well, and unlike Google Duo, where you can only share one image at a time, WhatsApp allows you to share multiple images.

One of the main differences lies in the fact that all messaging features are permanent on WhatsApp. That is, texts, voice messages, images, etc. remain in your conversations until you delete them. This is not the case with Google Duo as they disappear within 24 hours.

Fun fact: WhatsApp is also making messages disappear. You may soon see it on your WhatsApp.

Filters and effects

Like I said, Google Duo is all about video calling and its related features. Another interesting feature that it offers us is the ability to use cool filters and effects in video messages. This is not found on WhatsApp. On Google Duo, when you open the screen to record a video message, you’ll see Effects and Filter options on the right side. Select any filter to add to your video.

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Knock Knock

Yes. This is an actual feature on Google Duo. When you video call someone on Duo, they’ll be able to watch the video before they answer the call. However, for privacy reasons, you won’t see their video until they answer the call. If you don’t like the feature, you can disable it in settings so that others don’t see your video before you answer the call. This feature is not available in WhatsApp.

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File and Screen Sharing

While WhatsApp supports file sharing (PDF, ZIP, APK, etc.), none of the apps offer screen sharing as found in other video calling apps like Facebook Messenger, Skype, Zoom, etc.

Low data mode

Video calls use a large amount of data. If you’re on a limited plan, fortunately, both apps help you reduce the amount of data you consume in low data mode. On Duo, go to Settings > Connection Settings and enable Data Saving Mode. On WhatsApp, go to Settings > Data and Storage Usage. Enable low data usage.

Privacy

The popular Zoom app has been in the news lately due to growing concerns about its security. Fortunately, WhatsApp and Google Duo offer end-to-end encryption for your calls.

Pricing

Google Duo and WhatsApp are free to use. Every user gets the same features. There are no subscriptions or premium plans. You just have to pay for the data these apps consume.

Note: An itemized phone bill will not show details about WhatsApp or Duo calls.

Convenience vs. Popularity

While both the apps are suitable for personal video calling, Google Duo knocks down WhatsApp. But only when it comes to video calls. It does not offer other features found in WhatsApp. Lacks proper messaging and file sharing. However, it offers unique video calling features like Knock Knock which are not found in any other video calling app.

The problem with Google products is that even if they are good, they are very limited when it comes to features and popularity. WhatsApp is a popular app, and most of the smartphone users have it on their phone. Getting these users to Duo just to make video calls is a task even if it’s a great app. But, if you can do it, go ahead. Google Duo will not disappoint.

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