Google Video Chat Merge Begins: There Are Now Two ‘Google Meet’ Apps

Enlarge / One day, Google’s messaging lineup will work like this (assuming Google can stop launching competing products).

Ron Amadeo

Google officially launches the merger of its two video chat applications, Google Meet and Google Duo. Google announced the merger in June, with the plan to retain the Google Meet brand name while merging the best of both codebases into the Google Duo app. According to Google’s PR email (no links, sorry), people will start seeing Duo’s app and website branding move to Google Meet this week. Google’s various rebrandings are all on a rollout, so they’ll come at different times for different people, but Google says the full rebranding should be complete for everyone by September.

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Google Duo is therefore rebranded as Google Meet, and the existing Google Meet app remains for a bit. This means that there is now Of them applications called “Google Meet”. Google has a detailed help article on this extremely confusing situation, calling the two Meet apps “Google Meet (Original): The Updated Meet App” and “Google Meet: The Updated Duo App.” The “Google Meet (original)” app will one day be put to pasture; it just stays while Google rebuilds the meeting feature on Google Duo. Did everyone follow this?

The Meet and Duo video services were both designed in response to Google. much more stable communication contest. Google Meet was technically created in 2017 as a group enterprise video chat app called “Google Hangouts Meet”, but it really became a major project after Zoom’s growth exploded in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19[FEMALEGoogleMeetwasalwayslockedbehindapaywallduringtheearlymonthsoftheworkfromhomeeraandalthoughiteventuallybecameaseasytouseasZoomwasafterZoombecameafamiliarname[FEMININEGoogleMeetétaittoujoursenferméderrièreunpaywallpendantlespremiersmoisdel’èredutravailàdomicileetbienqu’ilsoitfinalementdevenuaussifacileàutiliserqueZoomc’étaitaprèsqueZoomsoitdevenuunnomfamilier

Both from Google

The two “Meet” apps from Google. The one on the left is Duo. The good one is Meet.

Ron Amadeo

Google Duo was released in 2016 alongside the “companion app” Google Allo in response to the growth of WhatsApp. Google and Facebook engaged in a $22 billion bidding war for WhatsApp two years earlier. Google lost and spent the next two years building a clone of WhatsApp called Google Allo. Instead of integrating video chat into the app, Google split the video functionality into a separate app called Google Duo. WhatsApp didn’t have video chat back then, so you could use Google Duo video chat with Facebook’s WhatsApp we Hello from Google, if you will.

Allo and Duo were originally focused on India, which led Duo to build a one-to-one video chat system that used little bandwidth and performed well on unstable connections. This efficient video chat system will be the basis of the new combo app, Google is bringing Meet’s meeting link functionality into Duo and renaming it. The install base is probably also a factor here. As the default Android app, Google Duo has over 5 billion downloads on the Play Store, while Meet only has 100 million. Google’s path allows for a smoother transition for those 5 billion installs, while the 100 million can switch manually. Google says it will hide the old Original Google Meet app from App Store searches in September. Eventually, it will need to implement a pop-up message for existing users of the old Google Meet app that tells them to upgrade.

This is happening because Google is “unified” moving its messaging teams into 2020, with one person, Google Workspace VP and GM Javier Soltero, taking the reins of “all of Google’s collective communications products”. That should mean Google Hangouts, Google Meet, Google Chat, Google Messages, Google Duo and Google Voice, and Google has even launched the Android phone app for good measure. It was announced last month that Soltero has left Google, however, so it’s only two years on the message unification work. No one knows who, if anyone, is taking over as the new “messaging chief.” Soltero’s plan is still ongoing, however, in addition to this Meet and Duo merger, Hangouts will eventually shut down in a few months. This new, more cohesive lineup will leave one Google video app and three Google chat apps.

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