Recently, some of your friends have spoken highly of Google Duo, a free service from Google that allows you to make calls and video calls, with the ability to set up group video conferences with up to 32 participants. Before you create your account and access this service, you want to know more about it and how it works. That’s why you did some research on the web and ended up directly in this guide.
That’s how it is, isn’t it? So let me tell you, you came to the right place at the right time! In the next few paragraphs of this guide, I’ll explain how Google Duo works and how to use the service from computers, smartphones and tablets. In addition to the detailed procedure for accessing the service using your Google account or phone number, you’ll find the information you need to call and video call the contacts you want and to set up a group video conference.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how Google Duo works, it may be helpful to know which devices are compatible with the service.
You can use Google Duo from your computer without downloading any software, as the service can be used directly from your browser. Although it is compatible with the most common web browsers (e.g. Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge), it is recommended to use Chrome.
In fact, by using the Google home browser, you can take advantage of all of Duo’s features, such as the ability to make group video calls. In addition, with Chrome, you can download the Google Duo web application and access the service without logging into its official website.
How Google Duo works on PC
The first thing to do to use Google Duo is to access the service using your Google account. To do this, log in to the official website of the service, click on the “Try Duo for Web” button and, if you haven’t yet logged in with your Google account, choose the one you’re interested in from the “Choose an account” screen. Then enter your password in the appropriate field and press the Next button to access Google Duo.
At this point, you are ready to use Google Duo for calls and video calls (even group calls). Keep in mind, however, that you can only receive calls from people you’ve already called. To avoid this, you can associate your phone number with Duo: by doing so, not only will users you contact show your number as a caller ID (instead of your email address), but people who know your cell phone number will be able to find you and call you with Duo, regardless of their previous contacts.
Next, you can choose to continue to be contacted via your email address or to allow people to call you on Duo exclusively via your phone number. In the latter case, click on the cogwheel icon, go to the Account section, move the lever next to the option People can contact you using your email address from ON to OFF and press the Disable option.
Once you’ve logged into Duo with your Google Account and set up the options you’re interested in, you’re ready to receive and make calls. In the first case, you simply click the Accept button to answer a call.
By clicking on the “End call” button, you can end the call/video. If, on the other hand, you want to organize a group video call, it will be useful to know that you can create video conferences with up to 32 participants. At the time of writing, this option is only available with Chrome (and from the smartphone and tablet apps).
To make a group video call, tap the Create Group Link button and, if desired, click the pencil icon to customize the group name. At this point, copy the invitation link visible on the screen and share it with everyone who wants to join the video conference.
How Google Duo works on smartphones and tablets
After downloading Duo from your device’s store, launch the relevant app and press the Accept and Grant Access buttons to agree to the terms of service and allow Duo to use the device’s microphone and camera and access your contacts.
Now, on the Set up Duo with your phone number screen, enter your phone number in the appropriate field and press the Accept/Send button to receive a verification code via SMS. Then enter the code in the field and start using Google Duo.
You should be aware that if you have previously associated your phone number with the Google account you are using Duo with from your computer, the number will be automatically removed from Duo. However, you can reconnect your phone number, your Google Account and Google Duo and use a single account from as many devices as you like.
To do this, after setting up your phone number in the Google Duo app, click the three-dot icon in the upper right corner, select the Settings item from the menu that opens, and press the Add Account button, visible next to the Google Accounts item.