Google currently has two apps for video and audio calls, Meet and Duo, but soon the company will combine them into a new Google Meet application.
Google confirmed today that its two apps for video and audio calls, Meet and Duo, will be merged into a single service. Even though the new combined app will keep the Google Meet name, the mobile apps will be an update to the existing Duo app — the existing Meet app will eventually be renamed to ‘Meet Original’ and then discontinued. Conversation history, contacts, and messages will be retained throughout the transition.
“In the coming weeks,” Google said in a blog post, “we’re adding all the Google Meet features to the Duo app, so users can easily schedule a video meeting at a time that works for everyone, or continue using video calling to instantly connect with a person or group. Later this year, we’ll rename the Duo app to Google Meet, our single video communications service across Google that is available to everyone at no-cost.”
Google used to have a single video and audio service for both business customers and regular people, known as Google Hangouts. However, the company released two new apps in 2016 that aimed to replace Hangouts for regular people: Allo (for text messaging) and Duo (for calls). Hangouts was promptly split into two new products aimed at organizations, called Hangouts Chat (similar to Slack or Microsoft Teams) and Hangouts Meet (for calls). In 2018, Google started shutting down Allo and started moving its features to Messages (the default SMS app on Android), while Hangouts remained an enterprise product.
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the popularity around Zoom, caused the line between Google Meet and Duo to blur. Google opened up Meet to anyone with a Google account, instead of limiting it to paying customers, while Duo steadily increased the maximum number of participants who could be on the same video call.
With so much overlap between Duo and Meet, it makes sense that the two services are merging. That doesn’t make the process any less confusing, though, especially as Google is still flip-flopping on how to handle its messaging services. Six years after Hangouts was split into multiple services, we’re back to a single app. “All of this has happened before, but the question remains, does all of this have to happen again?”
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