Most people communicate frequently with friends, customers and colleagues via SMS and voice calls. Often, it has been proven that visual communication (video calling) is a much better way to convey information. Zoom and Google Duo are some of the familiar names in the video call ecosystem. In this article, we compare Google Duo and Zoom to help you determine which is the best video calling tool for your needs.
Are you far from family and friends and need to stay in touch? Or are you running a business with employees and customers in multiple countries and continents? Which of these two video calling tools should you choose? You should have your questions answered at the end of this post. Read on.
1. Support and registration of devices
Let’s start with the basics first. Google Duo allows users to make high-quality audio and video calls on a wide range of supported devices (smartphones, tablets, web, and even Smart Display devices such as Google Nest Hub). On the other hand, Zoom supports as many devices as Google Duo (except smart screens) but boasts of interoperability with many more platforms and tools (browser extensions and others) than Google Duo .
Zoom lets you integrate, schedule, and join individual video calls or group video conferences directly from third-party tools such as Slack, Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, etc. It should also be noted that Google Duo does not have a dedicated application for Mac and Windows. You will therefore need to use the web client via a browser.
You can download Zoom and Google Duo for your devices from the Download section of both platforms.
To use Google Duo, sign in with your Google Account and start calling (voice and video) contacts on your device or your Google account. For Zoom, you will need to create a new account with your email address to use the tool on your devices. Alternatively, you can use Zoom by connecting the tool to your Google and Facebook accounts.
2. Situations of use
Although the two tools allow you to make video calls, they are quite different, especially with regard to factors such as target audience, usage intentions, etc. Google Duo is best suited for “informal” communication with friends, family, and people you can contact.
On the other hand, Zoom is used for official communication purposes for a wider audience. It is mainly designed to be a remote communication tool for professional, educational and business use.
For more context, if you need to video call (a group) of friends for casual chatting, small chats, and catching up, then Google Duo is the perfect option. Zoom is primarily structured for remote business meetings, online seminars / webinars, virtual classrooms, interviews, virtual workshops and other forms of formal Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communications.
3. Video call functions
Google Duo and Zoom support individual and group video calls. However, we will list some features that should help you make a choice on the tool to choose.
When you register with Zoom, you are assigned to the free basic plan, which allows you to host up to 100 participants in a single group call. There is however a caveat: for group video calls with more than 3 participants, you are limited to 40 minutes of talk time. If you need your group video calls to be longer than 40 minutes with more participants, you will need to upgrade to a premium paid subscription (more on that later). If you subscribe to the best Zoom plan, you can host up to 1,000 participants in one video call for unlimited hours.
For Google Duo, the maximum number of participants you can have in a group video call is 12. It doesn’t come close to what Zoom offers. On the bright side, Google Duo offers unlimited group video calling. There is no limit to the amount of time you can spend with other participants in a single group video call.
When you choose a video call or conference application, you should not ignore the screen sharing function. The ability to share what’s on your screen with friends or teammates during a video call promotes effective collaboration. If you need to occasionally share the content of your mobile or computer screen during a video call, you should choose Zoom. Google Duo previously announced screen sharing for Android, but the functionality has since been disabled and is no longer supported on the platform.
To reiterate, you should opt for Zoom if screen sharing is a major requirement for your personal or professional needs.
This is another feature that Google Duo lacks. Recording a video call will come in handy if you need to have meeting content for reference, or if you need to share a webinar with absent attendees. The zoom allows you to record video calls and you choose to store the recording on your computer or in the clouds. You can also edit these Zoom video recordings later.
Zoom also offers advanced screen recording features such as adding timestamps to video recording, recording a separate audio file for each participant, etc.
This is another fun and practical feature of Zoom. If you are video calling in a visually unattractive room or in an environment with a lot of distractions in the background, Zoom lets you change the backdrop of the video call to a solid color or one of the preset colors. Zoom virtual background.
You can also choose an image (or video) from your device as the virtual video calling background.
Note: Zoom’s virtual background is only available for PC and iOS devices.
Incoming caller overview
Google Duo has a unique feature called Knock Knock. Once activated, you will be able to see a live video preview of the incoming caller. This way you can get an idea of where the person is calling from and (maybe) why they are calling you. Other than that, it’s a fun feature.
Zoom does not support live video preview; you can only see a caller when you are in a video call and the host / caller has activated their camera.
Make video calls
On Zoom, you can host the call and send the meeting ID or the Zoom link to participants. You can also join a video call using the meeting ID or the Zoom link provided by the host.
Note: To host or join a video call on Zoom, you must have installed the video call client / application on your device (see section # 1 above for more details).
Google Duo works differently. You can only make video calls to people who use Duo in your contact list. In addition, only people (Google Duo users) who have your number or email address in their contact list can call you by video. Unlike Zoom, random people cannot participate in your Google Duo (group) video call.
Security and encryption
Zoom and Google Duo offer a multitude of features designed to ensure secure video and voice communication. Google Duo, for example, supports end-to-end encryption for voice, text, and video communications on mobile and the web.
Zoom also secures communication and content sharing using 256-bit TLS encryption and AES-256 encryption respectively. Interestingly, in your “ Meeting (Basic) ” Zoom settings, you can also choose to encrypt your shared Zoom data with third-party apps and endpoints.
Plans and prices
Google Duo is free and has no hidden fees. For families and small businesses (12 members or less) that do not require any advanced video conferencing functionality (screen sharing, screen recording, virtual background, etc.) during communication, Google Duo is a perfect economic option. The free Zoom Basic plan also works, but you will not be able to use it for long-term communications (more than 45 minutes) with your team members, family or colleagues.
For companies with a medium or large team (≤100 members), investing in a paid Zoom plan is worth it. You have access to a ton of advanced features.
Wondering which apps should you use on your Windows PC? Here’s our organized list of the top 4 video calling apps for Windows 10.