Google recently rolled out a significant change to its Duo video calling service. Now, you will no longer need a phone number to make calls. Users would be able to make and receive calls from the web. No need to link Duo to a phone number. Since the feature was rolled out silently, the exact date of the update is not known, but if you check the service out, you will notice that the feature is already live. However, it still needs more work since it doesn’t work with G Suite accounts. This makes receiving calls a bit difficult although you will be able to make calls easily.
If you make your way to duo.google.com on a non-G Suite account that is not linked with a phone number, you will see that you are directed to the main site instead of being asked to add and link a number to continue. At the main site, you will be able to search your Google contacts and place audio and video calls. There is no change in procedure for placing calls and the whole thing works just as it would have had you linked your number.
Email-only Duo Accounts
Without announcing the new change or feature, Google went right ahead. It is now possible to make calls on the web with Duo. There is no need whatsoever to link your phone number before you do. You will be able to make calls regardless of your email address. On the other hand, you will be able to receive calls only if a standard Google Duo account makes the call to a Duo-linked email address. One trouble here is that since these email-only Duo accounts don’t have corresponding phone numbers attached, there is no way you can search for them. You will only be able to make the call if they show up in your notifications if you called them recently or if they show up on your recent call history.
Of course, if you are going the email-only way, you will have to make peace with the constant pop-ups that show up, asking you to add your phone number. If you do, your family and friends would be able to locate you more easily. If you use a G-Suite account, you will not be able to make use of this feature. You will only be able to enjoy the Duo service by using your phone number and continuing.
Mobile Version of Duo
Naturally, Google must have been planning this for quite some time. The fact that this feature was introduced with no promotion whatsoever is a surprise. As of now, the change can be seen on Google Duo on the web. However, the support pages have not yet been updated. They still mention that Duo can only be used when a phone number is associated with your account. So far, there has been no update of whether the mobile version of Duo will also receive the change. The update can only be seen on the website.