Google begins preparing a phone number-free Duo on Android

Google Duo logo
Google Duo logo (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is preparing to remove the phone number requirement from Duo.
  • Users will now be able to use Duo with just an email address.
  • Google rolled this functionality out on the web early this year.

Some of us are making video-calls more than ever, and companies are accordingly incentivized to spruce up their video-calling and video conferencing offerings. Google has already done some of that tidying up with Meet, and now it's turning some attention to Duo.

The company is working on a version of Duo for Android that will allow users to receive video-calls with just their email addresses, ditching the requirement for phone numbers. Duo first gained that functionality on the web, but inklings of it coming to the Android app just emerged (via Android Police.)

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To be clear, the setting only indicates that Google will let you be reachable via an email address, not that it lets you use the full-featured Duo feature-set without your email, but the latter interpretation seems likely. A phone number free Duo makes a lot of sense on mobile for the same reasons it does so on the web. For one, Android apps aren't phone only. Chromebooks, Chrome tablets, Android tablets, all offer Duo access via an Android app. Sure, the userbase may be small, but it's still there.

To add to that, Google already offers a phone-number free Duo on the web, so it seems more likely that it will bring the Android app in line with that rather than creating an arbitrary demarcation of features.

Google is yet to roll out this new feature-set, but as it's already present on the web, we anticipate sooner rather than later.

Google Duo: What is it and how does it work?

Michael Allison