Google Has A Confusing Plan To Merge Duo And Meet

By now, it's probably no longer surprising to hear that Google is retiring a product or service. Though the company doesn't flip the switch instantly and instead tries to make these transitions as smooth and non-disruptive as possible, they still often lead to a bit of confusion and apprehension, especially when products are merged. It seems Google will be doing this yet again, and this time it could eclipse the shutdown of Google Play Music because of the number of users who will be affected: Duo and Meet will be merged, Google has announced. 

The company promises the unification of Duo and Meet will be painless and will result in a single video chat solution once and for all ... or at least until it launches its next big thing. Duo and Meet couldn't be more different, standing on opposite ends of the video chat spectrum as far as purpose is concerned. Google Duo values simplicity and direct calls, allowing users to simply pick a contact from the phone book and dial them, just like with a conventional voice call. It's no secret that Duo is Google's answer to Apple FaceTime, hailed for its ease of use and convenience.

The pandemic, however, gave rise to the need for a different kind of virtual communication. Video meetings and conferences have become both trendy and necessary, and it is where Google Meet shined the brightest. In addition to a bevy of features, Meet has also been integrated deeply into the majority of Google's suite of services like Gmail, Calendar, and Assistant. While its purpose has been more on the business side of people's lives, it also brought a bit of confusion on which service to use to reach people, which is why Google is consolidating Duo and Meet so you won't even have to decide.

Google Duo, meet Google Meet

To be clear, Google isn't axing Duo. While limited to 1:1 and small group calls, there has just been too much investment and too many users to sunset the service. There will also always be a need for an instant video call that doesn't require sending a meeting link, which is where Duo excels. Instead, Google will be bringing Meet features into Duo but, at the same time, retiring the Duo name.

In the coming weeks, Google will bring all of Meet's features into the Duo app to the point that the app will become a merger of Duo and Meet. This means that the Duo app will get support for virtual backgrounds, be able to schedule meetings, and integrate with other Google services. At the same time, however, Duo app users will still be able to make direct 1:1 calls like before, so no functionality is really lost. They won't even lose their conversation history and contacts, so it looks like Duo is getting a Meet-sized upgrade for all intents and purposes.

What will be lost is Duo's name, which will go away in favor of Meet once the changes have all been made, with the Duo app being renamed to "Meet" and the Meet app renamed to "Meet Original." After all, Meet has had the advantage in both popularity and meaning, as far as branding is concerned. It might get a little bit confusing when you start to consider that the functional changes will happen only in the mobile apps, with the web versions retaining their limited features and usage restrictions. Either way, Meet has won the battle to become the One Connected Solution to rule them all, at least as far as video calls go — though there is still Google Chat, so that isn't completely true, for now.