Once again, Google is gonna try to fix one of its communication problems.
This time, it’s in the video calling department, where the company currently has two products: Meet and Duo. As it turns out, Google thinks the former is where its future is, so it’s going to combine the two into a single application called Google Meet which will offer some mix of both apps’ features and abilities, while being available to everyone to use.
If this sounds a bit confusing, it’s because it is. Google has been focusing a lot of time and energy in growing Meet to being not just a good Zoom competitor, but also a FaceTime alternative. Meanwhile, Duo was destined from the get-go to be the FaceTime for Android, and it seemed to be on that trajectory with various companies sticking to it as the primary way to video call someone on new phones. But now, both platforms have met themselves somewhere in the middle since their respective laundry lists of features are so similar, so Google sees an opportunity to combine them into a single service.
In a piece from The Verge, the company highlights Duo’s upbringing and early focus on delivering high-quality video calls to everyone, including those who may have less powerful phones with much slower internet speeds. “The Duo mobile app had a lot of sophistication, especially under the hood,” said Dave Citron, Director of Product for Google’s video products. “Especially in emerging markets, where network connectivity was sparse or highly variable.” He later confirmed that the end goal is “combined forces, and no users left behind.”
This obviously means Google has a rebranding issue on its hands. Right now, “Google Meet” is synonymous with having properly scheduled meetings with others rather spur-of-the-moment chats. Meanwhile, Duo is much more familiar with the FaceTime crowd who likes to pop up on their friends’ phones whenever they please. Google’s going to have to go in that direct much further than it is the scheduled meeting one, if it ever wants the newly combined Meet to ever succeed.
We should start to see this change begin to unfold over the coming months. Google will first carry over a bunch of Meet features to Duo, then rename it to “Google Meet” later on in 2022. Afterward, the current “Meet” app will be called “Meet Original” and later be retired once users have made the switch.