Comparision

Google Duo vs Zoom: Which is the best video calling tool

Most people communicate frequently with friends, clients, and co-workers via text messages and voice calls. Oftentimes, video calling (video call) has been proven to be a much better way of conveying information. Zoom and Google Duo are some of the household names in the video calling ecosystem. In this article, we compare Google Duo and Zoom to help you figure out the best video calling tool for your requirements.

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Are you far from your family and friends, and need to keep in touch? Or do you run a business with employees and clients in many countries and continents? Which of these two video calling tools should you be looking for? You should have answers to your questions at the end of this post. Read on.

1. Device support and recording

Let’s start with the basics first. Google Duo allows users to make high-quality voice and video calls on a wide range of supported devices (smartphones, tablets, the web, and even on smart display devices like the Google Nest Hub). On the other hand, Zoom supports many devices like Google Duo (except for Smart Displays) but it boasts the ability to interoperate with a lot more platforms and tools (browser extensions and such) than Google Duo.

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Zoom allows you to merge, schedule and join one-on-one video calls or group video conferences directly from third-party tools such as Slack, Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, etc. It should also be noted that Google Duo does not have a dedicated app for Mac and Windows. So, you will have to use the web client via a browser.

You can download Zoom and Google Duo for your devices from the download section of both platforms.

To use Google Guo, sign in with your Google account, and start making calls (voice and video) with the contacts on your device or Google account. For Zoom, you will have to create a new account with your email address to use the tool on your devices. Alternatively, you can use Zoom by linking the tool to your Google and Facebook account.

2. Use cases

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Although both tools allow you to make video calls, they are very different, especially in terms of factors like target audience, usage intentions, and more. Google Duo is more suitable for “informal” communication with friends, family, and individuals whose contact details you have.

On the other hand, Zoom serves official communication purposes for larger audiences. It is primarily designed to be a remote communication tool for professional, educational and corporate use.

For more context, if you need to video call (a group of) friends for casual chatting, small talk and catch-up, Google Duo is the ideal choice. Zoom is primarily designed for remote business meetings, webinars/webinars, virtual classes, interviews, virtual workshops and other forms of formal Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communication.

3. Video calling features

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Google Duo and Zoom both support one-to-one and group video calls. However, we are mentioning some features that should help you decide which tool to choose.

group call

When you sign up for Zoom, you’re set for the free basic plan, which lets you host up to 100 participants in a single conference call. However, there is a caveat: for group video calls with more than 3 participants, you are limited to 40 minutes of talk time. If you need group video calls lasting more than 40 minutes with more participants, you will have to upgrade to a paid subscription (more on that later). If you sign up for the best Zoom plan, you can host up to 1,000 participants in a single video call for unlimited hours.

For Google Duo, the maximum number of participants in a group video call is 12 people. On the bright side, Google Duo offers unlimited group video calls. There is no limit to the time you can spend with other participants in a single group video call.

Screen sharing

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When choosing a video call or a conference app, the screen sharing feature should not be ignored. The ability to share what’s on your screen with your friends or teammates during a video call promotes effective collaboration. If you need to share your mobile or computer screen content every now and then during a video call, you should choose Zoom. Google Duo previously announced screen sharing for Android, but the feature has since been disabled and is no longer supported on the platform.

To reiterate, you should choose Zoom if screen sharing is a major requirement for your personal or business needs.

screen recording

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This is another feature that Google Duo lacks. Video call recording will be useful if you need meeting content for reference purposes, or if you need to share a webinar with absent participants. Zoom lets you record video calls, and you choose to store the recording on your computer or in the clouds. Later, you can edit Zoom video recordings as well.

Zoom also features some advanced screen recording features like adding timestamps to the video recording, recording a separate audio file for each participant, etc.

default background

This is another fun and useful feature of Zoom. If you’re on a video call in a visually unappealing room or in an environment with a lot of background distractions, Zoom lets you adjust the video call background to a plain color or any of the default zoom settings for the default background.

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You can also choose a photo (or video) from your device as the default background for a video call.

Note: Zoom’s default background is only available for computers and iOS devices.

Incoming caller preview

Google Duo has a unique feature called Knock Knock. When enabled, you will be able to see a live video preview of the incoming caller. This way, you can gain insight into where the person is calling from and (possibly) why they are calling you. Besides, it’s a fun feature.

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Zoom does not support live video preview; You can only see the caller when you join a video call, and enable the camera for the host/caller.

Make video calls

In Zoom, you can host the call and send the meeting ID or Zoom link to the participants. You can also join a video call via the meeting ID or zoom link provided by the host.

Note: To host or join a video call on Zoom, you need to have the video call client/app installed on your device (see Section 1 above for more details).

Google Duo works differently. You can only make video calls to people who use Duo in your contact list. In addition, only people (Google Duo users) who have your number or email address in their contact list can video call you. Unlike Zoom, random people cannot join the video call on Google Duo (group).

Security and Encryption

Zoom and Google Duo both offer a plethora of features designed to ensure a secure video and audio connection. For example, Google Duo supports end-to-end encryption for voice, text, and video communications on mobile and the web.

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Zoom also secures connectivity and content sharing using 256-bit TLS encryption and AES-256 encryption respectively. Interestingly enough, in Zoom’s ‘In Meeting (Basic)’ settings, you can also choose to encrypt Zoom data that is shared with third-party applications and endpoints.

Plans and prices

Google Duo is free to use and there are no hidden fees. For families and small businesses (with 12 members or less) that don’t require any advanced video conferencing features (screen sharing, screen recording, virtual background, etc.) while connected, Google Duo is an ideal cost-saving option. The free Zoom Basic plan also works, but you won’t be able to use it for long-term communication (above 45 minutes) with your team members, family, or colleagues.

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For companies with a medium or large-sized team (100 members), investing in a paid Zoom plan is well worth it. You can access a lot of advanced features.

View Zoom Plans & Subscription

Personal vs. Professional

Google Duo and Zoom both offer secure one-on-one meetings, group video calls, as well as other features that can help enhance video communication. Zoom comes with more of these features and is the best app for making video calls. If pricing is a major deal, or you need a basic video communication tool to connect with a small group of people without interruption, Google Duo will get the job done. The choice depends on your needs.

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