Google Duo holiday ads take a subtle dig at Apple to remind us the app also works on iPhones

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Google simultaneously unveiled Allo and Duo more than two and a half years ago, but while the instant messaging mobile app failed to catch on, heading towards a predictably unhappy ending in March 2019, the search giant’s cross-platform video chat service will live on and presumably continue to thrive.

Obviously, Google Duo is significantly more popular on Android devices than iPhones, having already exceeded 500 million Play Store installs and nearing 3 million ratings with a decent 4.6-star average.

Seeing as how the app has only been reviewed by a little over 148K iOS users, it’s not very surprising to see Google focusing on the multi-platform-using family angle in a trio of clever new Duo ads.

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The three commercials are rather short and sweet, arguably managing to drive their main point home... while taking a subtle yet efficient dig at Apple. Can you spot the cheeky wordplay? Let us help you out if you can’t. 

In two of the three short clips recently uploaded to Google’s official YouTube channel, the narrator and protagonist complains her nice holiday face-to-face-time with her estranged brother would abruptly come to an end after Christmas were it not for the Android and iOS-compatible Duo platform. Face-to-face time, get it? Face to FaceTime...

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The point is Apple’s proprietary video calling service doesn’t support Androids, so if you have a Pixel 3 XL and want to communicate with an iPhone-owning family member, Duo is the way to go. Or Skype, or WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger, or countless other similar apps.

That’s not part of Google’s latest advertising blitz, obviously, which instead includes a badly photoshopped Pixel 3 XL picture as the thumbnail for one of the three new videos. As many YouTube commenters were quick to point out, the phone’s notch is camouflaged and its chin is non-existent. Oh, well, at least the device shown in the actual commercials is the real deal.

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