Android Facetime?


Android Facetime? a reader asks…

I just got a brand new Google Pixel 2, switching over from the iPhone. On the iPhone I used Facetime, but I get that it’s not available on an Android-powered smartphone. Can you tell me what I can do instead to get the same capability?

There are a tons of video-calling apps (aka Video Chat). Only one (Facetime) is limited to one platform (Apple’s Mac, iPad and iPhone). The rest can be used on either iOS or Android smartphones without a problem. This may be important to you, if you still want to communicate with your friends who have iPhones. All these solutions below are free, and there are tons more available, most free and some for a cost.

google-duo-app-iconOne easy solution is Google’s own: Google Duo. Get it at the Google Play Store. Like Facetime, it gives you one-to-one video teleconferencing with anyone else who has the Duo app. Your friends on iPhone can get the app from the iPhone App Store. It’s free and offers much the same capability as Facetime. I’ve used both and the quality is about the same. All video chat apps are utterly dependent on the quality/speed of your internet connection (and your caller’s). Duo is about as close to Facetime as you can get, simple to use and very solid.


googleplay-iconFor one-to-many kinds of video conferencing, Google Hangouts is a good option. There are also a number of social media options that include video teleconferencing, including SnapChat, Whatsapp, Tango, and Line. There’s also the venerable Skype. If you visit the Google Play Store and search on “video chat” you’ll see a bunch more. Be sure to read the description and reviews on each app before you install them.

And just a note of warning, don’t install any video chat app (or any app for that matter) that isn’t available in the Google Play Store. There are quite a number of security risks on the Android platform that you didn’t have to worry about with the iPhone.

signal-private-messenger-app-for-androidIf security or privacy is important to you (and perhaps it should be), then you might consider Signal Private Messenger to be your video chat app. I really like this one because it encrypts all the video chats between you and others. Even the folks at can’t read messages or see calls. Like all the others, Signal Private Messenger is free – it’s an Open Source project supported by grants and donations. The only downside is that it’s only available on Android, iPhone and desktops (Mac, Windows, and Debian-based Linux).

The important thing to remember about whichever app you choose is that the people you want to talk to must also have the app. Unlike SMS text messaging, these apps only communicate with the matching app on your caller’s device. And in case you were wondering, Apple’s iMessage piggy-backs on SMS, essentially taking over delivery of messages to iOS users and using standard SMS for non-Apple devices. That’s why folks sending cute animoji’s and such with an iPhone to an Android smartphone will get confusion from their recipients – iMessage has much richer features than plain SMS text messaging.



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