Google Duo calls may soon work without a phone number

Google Duo is one of the simplest apps for making video calls with friends and family, but it’s been limited by the fact that it generally requires a phone number to use. Frankly, I don’t want everyone to have my phone number. It now seems Google is changing that requirement, thanks to a hidden change in the Duo app spotted by developer Jane Manchun Wong.

Yes, it seems Google Duo will allow people to contact you via email at long last. It’s not clear if it is an opt-in or opt-out feature — or whether you’ll still need to sign up with a phone number — but it’s still nice to at least have the option to use email. Google first allowed you to make called on the web with just an email account back in January, but given it’s a mobile-first app, it’s good to see some similar flexibility afforded to our smartphones.

Considering the uptick in Google Duo usage after the coronavirus Pandemic, I’m glad to see the company is finally giving one of its best apps more attention. Google recently increased the number of callers who could be on a call at once and significantly improved video quality for low-bandwidth callers. Given people will continue to interact remotely for the foreseeable future, you can bet there are further improvements on the way.


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