Google Duo vs House­p­a­r­ty: Which Video Con­fer­enc­ing App Should You Use

Namrata Gogoi

With social distancing being the norm these days, the rise of video conferencing apps and tools is like never before. All you need is a smartphone or a tablet with a decent front camera, and you will be ready to take a video call. While Skype, FaceTime, and Google Duo are some of the ubiquitous choices for video conferencing, there are quite a few new names in the market now. And Houseparty is one of them.

Google Duo vs Houseparty Which Video Conferencing App Should You Use

One of the primary reasons that Houseparty rose to fame is because of its games. Yeah, you can play multiple games with your friends while on a video call with them.

And well, when it comes to Google Duo, one can safely say that over the years, it has grown to be one of the popular apps for video chats. Hence it's only fair that we pit Google Duo against Houseparty to see which video conferencing app is more suited for your needs.

As it's going to be a long post, let's get going.

Availability and Setup

Google Duo and Houseparty are mobile apps that are usable on smartphones and tablets. Quite naturally, if you want a bigger audience (more on that later) on your group calls, a tablet seems to a wiser choice.

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However, Houseparty has a slight advantage in this case. If you are a Chrome user, you can get an extension for the same and get going.

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At the same time, registering for Google Duo is an easy process. You will need to have an active phone number and a Google account, and that's about it. You will be able to place calls to users with Duo just like that, as long as you have a decent internet connection.

Again, signing up for Houseparty means you have to go the traditional means.

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Yep, no Google Signup or Facebook signup in this one, at least when I tried it out, and that can be cumbersome for some people.

On the upside, you do not need to provide your phone number to sign up. .

Ease of Access

Google Duo and Houseparty carry a modern interface. Out of the two, Duo's interface is quite easy to comprehend. Want to make a call? Just tap on a contact name. The same applies to group calls as well. All it takes is a simple tap on the group call button.

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And that's not the end of the story. There are quite a few options that you can access by swiping down on the screen.

Houseparty has quite a slightly different approach when it comes to adding friends and placing calls, a quirky one if you might call it that.

First, you need to add your friends. For now, there are two options. You can either choose to connect to your phone's contact book. Or, you can link your Facebook account and add your friends from there.

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The next time you open the app, your friends will be notified that you are 'in the house' and ready to begin partying (hence the name). They can tap on the notification to well, start the 'party' (video call).

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At the same time, if a Houseparty video call is already in progress, you'll be able to see when you swipe up on the app's homescreen.

Number of Participants

Before the days of social distancing, video calls used to be limited, and that too, with a single person. That was the case with me, at least.

However, with the worldwide lockdown in effect, most of us are open to the idea of video conferencing apps that let you talk to a larger group.

Thankfully, HouseParty and Google Duo don't disappoint.

Duo lets you add up to 12 persons on a video call, while Houseparty lets you add up to 8 persons per video call.

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The bonus is that both apps do not have any restrictions on the number of group calls. Furthermore, there no limit on the time you spend on a group video call. A stable internet connection is all you need.

Video Calling Features — Knock Knock, Caller Preview, and Games

So, both apps let you catch up with your friends and family. What sets them apart from each other? Is there any difference between Google Duo and Houseparty?

Yes, there are plenty of differences between them.

For one, with Houseparty, you can also play cool games like Heads Up, Trivia, Chips and Guac, and Quick Draw.

Tap on the tiny Dice-shaped icon on the upper-right corner, and all the games will be revealed to you.

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Screenshot 20200329 210918 Houseparty

And that the games are interesting, and in these times, they are gold. I especially loved Quick Draw, where you will be given a hint, and you have to draw it on a canvas. It becomes interesting even if you are bad at drawing.

Interestingly, Duo bundles a unique feature named Knock Knock. This nifty feature lets you see the live video preview of the caller's video, and it contributes to the fun element.

That said, there are a couple of additional fun features like Face Filters. You can also record a video message or send a note or photo to some 32 of your contacts.

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Another feature that adds to the quirkiness of Houseparty is that any friend of yours can join your party. For instance, if you are on a call with three of your friends, a fourth friend can come and join your party.

But thankfully, there's an option to stop this from happening.

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Aptly named Lock, this feature lets you lock your room if you do not want any random person crashing your party.

Serious or Fun

The decision of picking one of them is pretty simple. If you want a frills-free video conferencing app with good call quality, group calling option and call-history records, Google Duo is your best bet. It carries no ads and operating it is easy.

While there's no option like call scheduling, but you can always record a video message and send it off. And there's no need to wait for your friends to join the room. You can just go ahead and give them a call.

Meanwhile, Houseparty is more suitable for casual use, and the mix of games makes it more interesting. If you have plenty of time to kill and want to get into the competitive spirit with your buddies, Houseparty is the app you should get.

Though the interface can be a tad challenging to understand at the first try, you will get the hang of it quickly.

Next up: Are you looking to up your Google Duo game? Read the following article and discover some nifty tips and tricks.


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Namrata loves writing about products and gadgets. She has been working for Guiding Tech since 2017 and has around three years of experience writing features, how-tos, buying guides, and explainers. Previously she worked as an IT Analyst at TCS, but she found her calling elsewhere.