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Google Duo’s new audio calls feature is now available to all users



Google’s Duo messaging app recently got voice calls in Brazil, but now the feature is rolling out to users across the rest of the world.

The initial launch came as part of a series of product launches specific to Brazil, and Google, at the time, teased that an international expansion was just days away. It ended up taking almost a week, but now Duo users outside of Brazil have the option of audio calls, according to a tweet from Amit Fulay, the exec in charge of Duo.

On a related expansion note, Google has also partnered with Truecaller to integrate Duo calling into the company’s smart calling app. That partnership is effective in India, where Truecaller claims to have 150 million registered users.

Google launched Duo last year as an emerging market-friendly take on services like Apple’s FaceTime-iMessage and WhatsApp, which has gotten audio and video calling in recent years. Google said last week that audio calls were a much requested feature, and the additional is entirely logical if Google wants to be the center of its users’ communication needs.

Somewhat confusingly, Duo was unveiled alongside Allo, the latter being a “smart” messaging app with features like Google Assistant baked in. Allo recently got the option of file-sharing, but it still doesn’t include calls of any kind.

Confusion between those products is really symptomatic of Google’s general approach to mobile messaging. As TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez explained last week, beyond the fact that Allo and Duo would surely work better as a combined entity, Google’s past and present messaging endeavors are numerous. The company currently offers Hangouts, which it recently split up into separate apps Chat and Meet, Google Voice, which just got a rare update, and Messenger, a service focused on Rich Communications Services (RCS).

Yet none of those properties comes close to the global popularity of rivals WhatsApp or Messenger Messenger, both of which are owned by Facebook and claim more than a billion monthly active users each.



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