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Google launches Duo to take on Apple’s FaceTime

Tech giant Google has launched its video calling app, Google Duo, for Android and iOS users, which will compete with apps like FaceTime and Skype. The video calling app, which was first announced by Google three months ago at its I/O developer conference, aims to take the "complexity out of 
video calling".

"Video calling is the next best thing to being with someone in person. We have designed the interface to be simple, easy and welcoming. In places like India, it has been designed to adapt to the network connectivity conditions. We hope to make the experience of video calling more personal, inviting easy and smooth," Google Group Product Manager Amit Fulay said in a statement.

The rollout of Duo for Android and iOS starts today, and it will be live worldwide in the next few days. To ensure privacy and security, all Duo calls are end-to-end encrypted. Duo allows users to connect using their phone number without a separate username/account.

Google has introduced a new feature 'Knock Knock' that allows people to see live video of the caller before they answer, helping users connect with the person even before they even pick up. 

"Duo has been built to be fast and reliable, so that video calls connect quickly and work well even on slower networks. Call quality adjusts to changing network conditions to keep you connected when bandwidth is limited, Duo will gracefully reduce the resolution to keep the call going smoothly," Google said.

For video calls on the go, Duo can switch between Wi-Fi and cellular data automatically without dropping the call. 

Hike Messenger raises $175 mn... led by Tencent and Foxconn
Messaging platform Hike Messenger on Tuesday said it has raised $175 million in a new round of funding led by Tencent Holdings and Foxconn Technology Group, valuing the company at about $1.4 billion. 

Existing investors - Tiger Global, Bharti and Softbank Group - also participated in this round. This is the fourth venture capital round and the biggest to date for Hike, a company founded by Kavin Bharti Mittal, son of Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Mittal.  

The company said it is looking at acquisitions in technology and people, but ruled out an IPO in near future. The latest round of funding takes the total investment to over $250 million so far. 

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