Google officially launches the integration of two video chat apps, Google Meet and Google Duo. Google announced his merger in June, announcing plans to keep the Google Meet brand name while integrating the best of both codebases into his Google Duo app. According to his PR email from Google (no link, sorry), people will start seeing the Duos app and website branding switch to Google Meet this week. Google’s various rebrandings are all rolling out and will happen at different times for different people, but according to Google the full rebranding should be finished by September for everyone. .
As such, Google Duo is being rebranded to Google Meet, and the existing Google Meet app will remain so for the time being. So there are two apps called Google Meet. Google has a help article detailing this very confusing situation, calling the two Meet apps Google Meet (original): Updated Meet app and Google Meet: Updated Duo app. The Google Meet (original) app will someday be pastured. Just leave it alone while Google rebuilds the meetings feature on top of Google Duo. Did everyone follow it?
Both Meet and Duo video services were built as responses to Google’s much more stable telecom race. Google Meet was technically created in 2017 as a group business video chat application called Google Hangouts Meet, but after Zooms’ growth exploded during his Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, , has actually become a major project. Google Meet was still locked behind a paywall during the first few months of the work-from-home era. It ended up being just as easy to use as Zoom, but only after Zoom became a household name.
Google Duo debuted in 2016 with companion app Google Allo as a response to WhatsApp’s growth. Google and Facebook got into his $22 billion bidding war on his WhatsApp two years before that. Google failed and he spent the next two years creating his WhatsApp clone called Google Allo. Instead of integrating video chat into the app, Google split the video functionality into a separate app called Google Duo. Back then, WhatsApp didn’t have video chat. So we could use Facebook’s WhatsApp or Google’s Allo and Google Duo video chats if we wanted to.
Allo and Duo were originally focused on India, so Duo built a one-to-one video chat system that uses very little bandwidth and works well over unstable connections. Its efficient video chat system is the basis for a new integrated app as Google builds Meet meeting link functionality into Duo and rebrands it. The install base is probably also a factor here. As the default Android app, Google Duo has his over 5 billion downloads on the Play Store, while Meet has only his 100 million downloads. Google’s path makes the transition for those 5 billion installs smoother, but 100 million installs will need to be switched manually. According to Google, the old original Google Meet app will be hidden from app store searches in September. Ultimately, you’ll need to implement a pop-up message to encourage existing users of the old Google Meet app to upgrade.
This move is happening because Google merged its messaging teams in 2020, with one person, Google Workspace VP and GMJavier Soltero, holding the reins of all of Google’s collective communications products. This should mean Google Hangouts, Google Meet, Google Chat, Google Messages, Google Duo, Google Voice, and Google even threw in his Android phone app for good measure. It was announced last month that Soltero would be leaving Google, so he only has two years in the messaging integration job. No one knows who will take over as the new head of messaging. Plans for Solteros are still in the works, but Hangouts will eventually shut down in a matter of months, in addition to this Meet-Duo merger, and this new, more cohesive lineup is one Google Video app and his Leaves the three Google Chat apps for
This story originally appeared on Ars Technica.
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