Google video chat app joins the battle for your homescreen

Alphabet’s Duo is testing whether users have room for yet another Google app on their home screens.Google Duo, a 1-to-1 video calling app, launched this week to as fast and reliable answer to Apple‘s FaceTime that works on both iOS and Android.

A successful run for Duo, along with messaging app Allo, could mean that users never leave the Google ecosystem that’s already popular for email, calendars, and master sign-ins, said Max Wolff, chief economist at Manhattan Venture Partners.

It comes as video and text messaging apps, like Google’s new Allo and Duo, increasingly play the role of the one-stop shop that was once the job of the operating system, Wolff told CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on Tuesday. Google originally announced the app at its developer conference earlier this year, where the artificially intelligent connections between the new apps was the highlight of the event.

“Google’s making sure they don’t get left behind in a world dominated by the WhatsApp, and the Snapchat, and the FaceTimes and the Apples, who are basically their major competitors,” Wolff said.

Despite the competition, Wolff said it’s dangerous to count out Google too soon. Google’s apps are among the most popular across both iOS and Android operating systems, Wolff said.

“With … 85-plus percent market share in the developing market where new users are just coming on, they have a pretty good chance of being the first app you use for a couple of tens of millions of people in the next six months,” Wolff said, noting that Duo does well in low-bandwidth environments that are common in some developing markets. “That will be the real test if they can have legs and run with this.”

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