WhatsApp vs Google Duo vs Facebook Messenger: The best video calling app in India

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New Delhi | Published: March 18, 2018 5:34:43 PM

We take a look at the features that are offered by WhatsApp, Google Duo, and Facebook Messenger and keep them side by side to let you know if the app is worth your time.

WhatsApp, Google Duo, or Facebook Messenger – which is the best app for video calling?

With the boom in the Internet scene of India, people began switching to video calls to just simply have a casual talk or discuss something important. The voice calls are still a first choice for many and is hardly to be replaced by video calls, but that doesn’t mean video calls are a dud. There are several apps that allow video conferencing and calls, along with additional features that come handy as move along to use them more frequently. The most popular apps in India that come with video calling feature are WhatsApp, Google Duo, and Facebook Messenger.

We take a look at the features that are offered by WhatsApp, Google Duo, and Facebook Messenger and keep them side by side to let you know if the app is worth your time. The prime focus of the three apps is to simplify the way you talk to your friends and relatives via voice and video calls. While voice calls are equally important, they are usually preferred via the cellular networks rather than VoIP calls. We have not considered the promptness of the apps as this is something that largely depends on the Internet connection.

WhatsApp Messenger

WhatsApp is undoubtedly the most popular messaging app with over 200 million monthly active users in India. The Facebook-owned app introduced the video calling feature in 2016. The users welcomed this feature to a great extent, so much so that it last year said that Indians made 50 million minutes of video calls daily on the platform. WhatsApp has since been making several improvements to make the video calling service better.

The WhatsApp video calls can be initiated to a contact by either jumping to the contact list or to a recent chat on the chat screen. The users are required to tap on the video calling icon to begin the video calling feature. The moment it starts ringing, you can see yourself on the screen with a black overlay, in addition to the profile picture of the person who you’re calling. Now, when your call is answered, you will begin seeing additional buttons on the call screen.

You can switch the cameras between the front and rear – the video being captured by your camera will be at the bottom right in a small rectangular widget that can be tapped to make fullscreen. You also see mute button, and a disable video call button, in addition to the end call button. In case you’re on a voice call on WhatsApp, you will now be able to switch to a video call by tapping a button in the call interface in the latest WhatsApp version for Android and iOS.

Google Duo

Google has several video calling apps such as Hangouts, however at the I/O conference in 2016, Google realised to focus more on messaging and calling apps. It launched the Google Allo and Google Duo apps at the conference. Google has been bullish about the Google Duo app in the Indian market. It even began offering the people who didn’t use Google Duo a glimpse of how it works along with a download button. Google Duo is comparatively simpler than WhatsApp since it doesn’t support textual messaging. It comes with voice and video calls where the latter is what it is primarily known for.

The Google Duo has an interesting feature called Knock Knock that lets the person who you are calling see your video before the call is answered. However, you won’t be able to see their video unless the call is answered. The Knock Knock feature can be turned off in case you don’t want yourself to be seen before your call is answered on the other side. The Google Duo app was recently update to bring design changes including a fresh contact list and a recent list. You can go the contacts list where you will find the people in your contacts who use Duo. By tapping on their names, you initiate the call. There is also a high quality mode that will improve the video quality while consuming more data. This feature can too be turned off.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook Messenger was initially launched as one of the suite of apps from the social media giant. However later, Messenger was considered more like a standalone app and as a result, Facebook made Messenger independent of your Facebook profile. While the option to use Messenger with your Facebook account is still available, you can alternatively sign up with just your mobile number without having to create a Facebook profile if you don’t wish to.

Facebook Messenger has a lot more features than WhatsApp and Google Duo. It comes with stickers, games, automated responses from brand pages, and chatbots. Major companies including Apple and Spotify currently feature their chatbots inside Messenger to facilitate people who use their services such as Apple Music and Spotify playlist sharing. The video calling feature works similar to the one on WhatsApp. You go to a chat and just tap on the video calling option at the top. Additionally, there is a separate tab where all your voice and video calls are saved, along with a new call button, on tapping which will open the contact list from where you can choose the contact you want to call.

Moreover, you can even start a group call with more than one contacts. On the calls tab, there is an option to start group call, tap on it and select the contacts you want to call. The call interface of Messenger is better than WhatsApp and Google Duo. the video call screen has mute, video chat off and end call option. In addition, you see two more options on the top – on the right corner is the chat icon while on the left is the camera switch button. Tapping on chat icon will bring you the chat screen while your video call is still running in a Picture-in-Picture (PiP) mode. You can even put on AR stickers and masks while on the call, which is currently not supported on WhatsApp and Google Duo.

Well, that’s all about the video calling feature of WhatsApp, Google Duo, and Facebook Messenger. While the main purpose of video calling is to look at the person you’re calling, some additional features just bring about more fun and are good to toy with. If you know any other good features that we might have missed out in this list, let us know in the comments section below.

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