How Google Duo works

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Compatible devices

Prima di enter the live of this tutorial and spiegarti how Google Duo works, you may find it useful to know which devices are compatible with the service in question.

Well, from computer it is possible to use Google Duo without downloading any software since the service can be used directly from the browser. Although it is compatible with the most common web browsers (eg. Firefox, Safari e Microsoft Edge) is recommended to use Chrome.



In fact, using the Google home browser it is possible to take advantage of all the features of Duo, such as the ability to organize group video calls. Furthermore, with Chrome it is possible to download the Google Duo web application and access the service without connecting to its official website.

For smartphones and tablets, Google Duo is available as an application for Android devices (available on the Play Store and on alternative stores for all devices with Android 7 and later) and iPhone / iPad (for iOS 11 and later and iPadOS).

Finally, I would like to point out that it is possible to use Google Duo to make and receive calls even through devices Google Nest (in the case of Nest Hub the video call function is also available) e Google Home (including Google Home Mini). In this regard, my guide on how to call with Google Home may be useful.

How Google Duo works on PC

If you are wondering how Google Duo works on PC, you will be happy to know that the service in question allows you to make calls and video calls (including group) with ease. After logging in with your Google account, you will be able to contact all users who, in turn, use Duo. Find everything explained in detail right below.



How to set up Google Duo

The first step to be able to use Google Duo is to access the service in question using your own Google account. To proceed, connected to the official website of the service, click on the button Try Duo for Web and, if you have not yet logged in with your Google account, choose the one you are interested in on the screen Scegli an account. Then insert the Password in the ready field and the pulsating prize NEXT, to log into Google Duo.

Alternatively, connected to the main Google page, click on the button Log in (top right), choose theGoogle account with which to use Duo and log in. Once this is done, click on the icon of squaresat the top right, and select the option Duo from the menu that opens, to access the main screen of the service. If, on the other hand, you don't have a Google account yet, you can take a look at my in-depth guide to create one.

At this point, you are ready to use Google Duo for both calls and video calls (even group). Keep in mind, however, that you can only receive calls from people you have previously called. To avoid this, you can pair your own with Duo telephone number: by doing so, not only the users you contact will see your number as a caller ID (instead of your email address) but people who know your mobile number will be able to find and call you with Duo, regardless of previous contacts.


That said, if you'd like to add your phone number to Duo, tap on the option Add number visible above. Alternatively, click on the rotella d'ingranaggio, select the option Account and click on the button Add phone number.


In the new screen that appears, enter your number in the field Please enter your phone number and click on the button NEXT, to receive a 6-digit verification code via SMS. Then enter the code in question in the appropriate field and click on the buttons Allow e OK (for two consecutive times).

Once this is done, you can choose whether to continue to be contacted via your email address as well or to allow people to call you on Duo exclusively via your phone number. In the latter case, click on the icon of rotella d'ingranaggio, access the section Account, move the toggle next to the option People can contact you using your email address da ON a OFF e premi sull'opzione disable.

How do you say? Have you added and verified your phone number but want to remove it from Duo? If so, I am sorry to tell you that this is not possible. The only option available to you is to delete the Duo account (by accessing the section Account) and then log in to the service again with your Google account. By doing so, you will lose the list of calls received and made with Duo but your number will no longer be associated with the account in use.


How Google Duo video calling works

After logging into Duo with your Google account and configuring the options you are interested in, you are ready to receive and make calls. In the first case, all you have to do to answer a call is to click on the button Accept.

If, on the other hand, you want to call a specific person who uses Google Duo, enter their email address or phone number in the field Search for contacts or type, at the top, select the option View call options and, in the new screen displayed, press the button Call. Alternatively, you can initiate a call with a user already contacted previously also by acting from the section Recent activity. In that case, all you have to do is click on the person of your interest and choose the option Call.


How do you say? You would like to know how Google Duo works for video calling? Nothing simpler! Again, all you have to do is enter the email address or phone number of the person to contact in the field Search for contacts or type, select the option View call options e premere sul pulsating Video call.

Alternatively, you can click directly on the button Start a call visible on the main screen of Google Duo, enter the email address or phone number of the person to be video called in the field Call a phone number or email address and click on the button Video call.

It will be useful to know that, thanks to the Toc function Toc of Duo, already after starting the video call, you can view the video of the called user (and vice versa) even before the latter has answered the call. If you are not interested in this feature (which is active by default), you can deactivate it by pressing the icon of rotella d'ingranaggioby selecting the option Account and moving the lever for the item Knock Knock da ON a OFF. More info here.

During a video call, you can quickly switch to a “normal” audio call by pressing on the icon camera (feature not available if you have initiated a call and wish to switch to a video call). In addition, both during a call and a video call, other options are also available.

  • Mute / unmute microphone: allows you to deactivate / activate the microphone used during the call;
  • Turn off / on video: to disable the computer's webcam and switch to an audio call. Option not available for calls;
  • Send video vertically: it is an option available in video calls (and only on Chrome) that allows you to choose the orientation of your video between vertical and horizontal;
  • Attiva Picture in Picture: is another feature available only during video calls on Chrome. Allows you to perform other operations during a video call, keeping the video of the called person in the foreground;
  • Switch to full screen mode: to activate full screen mode during calls and video calls;
  • Show settings: allows you to choose the audio and video sources to use during a call / video call.

By clicking on the button End call, you can end the call / video call. If, on the other hand, you want to organize a group video call, it will be useful to know that it is possible to create video conferences with a maximum of 32 participants. At the time of writing this guide, this option is only available using Chrome (and from apps for smartphones and tablets).

To make a group video call, press the button Create group link and, if you wish, click on the icon pencil to customize the group name. At this point, copy the invitation link visible on the screen and communicate it to all people who wish to participate in the videoconference.

Alternatively, click on the button Add people, enter the email address / phone number of the people to add to the video call in the field Search for contacts to add and, in the search results, put the check mark next to the users in question. After selecting all the users of your interest, click on the button Add e premi sull'opzione Start call, to start the video call.

During the videoconference you can use all the features that I have indicated above for video calls. In addition, the option is available See group members which allows you to view all participants. To leave the group video call, however, you can click on the button Leave call.

How Google Duo works on smartphones and tablets

As I mentioned in the opening lines of this guide, Google Duo is also available as an application for smartphones and tablets. Unlike what is indicated in the lines dedicated to the operation of Duo from a computer, where access with a Google account and the optional addition of one's own telephone number is required, using the mobile app of the service it is necessary to use the number to configure your account.

After downloading Duo from your device's store, start the app in question and press the buttons Accept e Grant access, to accept the terms of service and allow Duo to use the microphone and camera of the device and access contacts.

Now, in the screenshot Configure Duo with your phone number, enter your phone number in the appropriate field and tap the button Accept/NEXT, to receive a verification code via SMS. Then enter the code in question in the appropriate field and start using Google Duo.

You should know that if you have previously associated your phone number with the Google account with which you use Duo on your computer, the number in question will automatically be removed from Duo. However, you can reconnect your phone number, Google account and Google Duo and use a single account from as many devices as you want.

To do so, after configuring your phone number in the Google Duo app, press the i icon three dots, at the top right, select the item Settings give the menu check if you press on the button Add account, visible near the entry Google Account.

In the new screen that appears, select theGoogle account of your interest (or click on the option Add another account if the Google account you intend to use is not yet associated with the device in use) and tap the button Accept, to complete the configuration.

You are now ready to take and make calls and organize video conferences. On the main screen of Duo, then locate the section Connect to Duo (with a list of all your contacts using Duo), tap on name of the person you want to call and choose the option of your interest among Voice call e Video call. Alternatively, by pressing on the item Message, you can send a video message (Video), a voice note (Voice) or a text message (Note).

If, on the other hand, the person you want to call is not among your contacts, enter their email address or phone number in the field Search for contacts or call, select the user of your interest and press on the option you prefer among Voice call, Video call e Message.

How do you say? Do you want to organize a videoconference? In this case, on the main Google Duo screen, tap the button Create group, put the check mark next to the contacts to be included in the group in question and press the button end. You should know that through the Duo app it is possible to create groups up to 12 participants.

In the new screen that appears, tap the icon of pencil, to name the group, choose the option Message, to send a video message, a voice message or a text message to all participants, or tap the button starts, to start the video call.

How Google Duo works


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