Google Duo No Longer Needs Your Phone Number

The web-based version of the video calling app got a stealth update

What: Google Duo, Google’s free 1-to-1 video calling platform for iOS, Android, and the Web now no longer needs your phone number to call your contacts through the Web client.

How: You simply visit Google’s Duo website, sign into your Google account, and see which of your contacts are available for a voice or video Duo call.

Why Do You Care: Cross-platform video calling has always been attractive, but not everyone’s been thrilled with giving Google their personal phone number. Now they don’t have to.

Ladies video chatting
 Getty Images

Video calling on mobile, desktop and countertop devices is increasingly popular, and many of the services, like Facebook Messenger, only require an account to work (at least for calling in-network). Google Duo, a free app that was designed to compete with Apple FaceTime but in a cross-platform way, has always been different. You want to make a call, you have to give them your phone number. It looks like Google has weakened that restriction, at least for Web-based users.

According to Android Police, which discovered the stealth update, the change is real. Lifewire visited and found that, at least for our personal Google account, we could instantly voice or video call almost any of our contacts. The platform never asked for our number. It works, but no one knows when Google did it. Google’s Duo Blog makes no mention of any such change.

GSuite (think Google business and enterprise) accounts, however, still appear to need a phone number to work.

It’s not a major change, but one that simplifies Duo for many users. It’ll be interesting to see if Google ever lifts the same restriction on iOS and Android Duo apps. That act might help Duo truly take on the still more popular FaceTime.

Via: Android Police