Google to combine Meet and Duo into one app

Meet and Duo both offer video calling services, and Google has now taken the step to bring both of them into a single platform rather than continuing to exist as separate entities.

The consolidated platform will be called Google Meet, dropping the Duo moniker, and the tech giant hopes Google Meet will be the one calling app users will need for just everything in their lives.

“What’s been really important is understanding how people make the choice as to what tool they’re going to use, for what purpose, in what circumstance,” says Javier Soltero, the head of Google Workspace

By bringing Duo and Meet together, Google hopes it can solve a few of the ills that trouble modern communication tools. At the moment, we have a wide variety of different chat apps, each with its own rules, behaviour and contact list, including those for work purposes and the personal ones for keeping with your friends and family.

Google’s plan is to use Gmail addresses and phone numbers to bring all that together. “It’s really important and powerful to be able to reach you that way…and allow you then to decide whether you want to be reached or not, as opposed to having to manage all of these different identities and deal with the consequences,” explains Javier Soltero.

Meet has gained more popularity than ever before, especially in the past two years, with online meetings becoming more popular when people were largely forced to work from home thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Duo on the other hand has mostly stayed as an unofficial messaging app more geared towards one-to-one communication.

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The tech giant promises that it will bring all of Duo’s features to Meet moving forward, and they are convinced Meet will offer the best of both worlds.

One advantage that Duo has over Meet is you can directly make a video call to someone, rather than relying on sending links or using the Meet button in your Google Calendar invite.

Duo’s mobile app has been chosen to be the default of the two platforms and will soon get an update that brings a host of Meet features into the platform. Then later in the year, the Duo app will be renamed Google Meet, the current Meet app will then be called Meet Original and will later be removed altogether

“The Duo mobile app had a lot of sophistication, especially under the hood… Especially in emerging markets, where network connectivity was sparse or highly variable,” says Dave Citron, director of product for Google’s video products.

However, on the web, Meet will form the base of the new combined system as it is the more developed platform in this space compared to Duo.

“But in both cases, the idea is 100% of the functionality, combined forces and no users left behind” explains Dave Citron.

With Meet already present in so many Google services, there is potential that it could become a significant competitor to the likes of WhatsApp and FaceTime. However, they first have to figure out how to make the transition seamless and the product easy for consumers to use without driving them away with a complicated product crammed with features.

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Naftaly is a Computer Science graduate with a passion for tech, video games and pop culture. When he is not writing articles for AndroidKenya, he is probably rewatching the Lord of the Rings trilogy for the hundredth time. Email at Twitter @KarisNaftaly