Google Duo makes bizarre comeback on Android

We recently reported that Google was integrating the Google Meet and Google Duo apps into one offering, retaining the Google Meet name but doing away with Google Duo. However, in a move that can only be described as bizarre, an update to the Google Meet app on Android brings back the Google Duo icon.

Which effectively makes it possible to launch the same app using two separate icons. Google decided to have “Meet” as the surviving brand, but since Google Duo had a bigger install base on Android, 5 billion compared to Google Meet’s 500 million, the tech giant decided to have Google Duo remain on smartphones and update it with a new home screen as well as features that were in the Google Meet app.

At the start of this August, the update that initiated the transition was rolled out, with the blue Duo icon being replaced with the Meet version. Once you had installed the update, the Duo’s icon would then disappear from your launcher.

However, with a new update, version 173 that has gone live on the 25th of August, the Google Duo icon has been brought back so that you have both the Meet and Duo icons in your app drawer with both working in the same way, launching the new Meet app that has both of their individual functionalities integrated.

9to5Google reports that they have received word from Google that the update was not made by mistake, but was instead intended to help people that searched “Duo” to launch the application. It is a move that aims to make shifting to the new app much easier for users who had no idea that Duo was being integrated with the Meet app.

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The integration seems to have caught a significant number of people unaware to warrant the update, despite Google explaining the transition through a big splash screen and banner that you have to interact with to get rid of.

To further aid in the confusion, Google Duo’s listing on the Play Store still has the old blue branding, while its website has also not yet been updated with the Meet branding.

I personally never use the Duo or Meet app, but it seems like the name change to Meet caused a significant drop in usage since not many regular people keep up with what Google is doing. The double icons seem to be a means to get back the lost user base as well as to familiarize them with the integrated app moving forward.

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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