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Google’s Duo video chat app adds voice-only calls - and it's available to all now

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Update: The wait is over. Voice-only calling on Google Duo is now available for users worldwide.

The news was announced by @juberti (opens in new tab), technical lead on Duo in a tweet (opens in new tab) found by The Verge (opens in new tab).

Original story below...

Duo, Google's answer to Apple's FaceTime (and more recently, the mobile replacement for Google Hangouts) is getting a new, handy feature that takes the "video" out of "video calling."

Audio calls are coming to Duo (opens in new tab), allowing users to stay in touch without having to rely on their phone's camera.

By cutting Duo's dependency on video, callers can now use the app in situations where their hands may not be free to hold a phone up to their face — or if they're just having a really bad hair day.

More importantly, audio-only calling reduces the amount of data a call consumes, making it ideal in low-reception areas or for longer catch-up calls with friends and family where you'd rather not spend the data on both voice and picture.

Unveiled during the tech giant's Google for Brazil event, audio calling on Duo is available now for users in the South American country and is rolling out globally over the course of the next few days.

Parker Wilhelm is a freelance writer for TechRadar. He likes to tinker in Photoshop and talk people's ears off about Persona 4.