A Duo of Google Meet Apps Is Officially Here, and It’s Confusing

Google is formally kicking off the merger of its two video chat apps, Google Meet and Google Duo. Google introduced the merger in June, with the plan to maintain the Google Meet model identify whereas merging the most effective of each code bases into the Google Duo app. According to Google’s PR e-mail (no hyperlinks, sorry), individuals will start seeing Duo’s app and web site branding swap over to Google Meet this week. Google’s varied rebrandings are all on a rollout, in order that they’ll arrive at completely different instances for various individuals, however Google says the whole rebrand ought to end for everybody by September.

So Google Duo is being rebranded to Google Meet, and the present Google Meet app is sticking round for a bit. That means there are actually two apps referred to as “Google Meet.” Google has a help article detailing this extraordinarily complicated scenario, calling the 2 Meet apps “Google Meet (original): The updated Meet app” and “Google Meet: The updated Duo app.” The “Google Meet (original)” app will sometime be put out to pasture; it’s simply sticking round whereas Google rebuilds the assembly performance on prime of Google Duo. Did everybody comply with that?

The Meet and Duo video providers have been each constructed as reactions to Google’s far more stable communication competitors. Google Meet was technically created in 2017 as a gaggle enterprise video chat software referred to as “Google Hangouts Meet,” nevertheless it actually turned a significant mission after Zoom’s development exploded in 2020 in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Google Meet was nonetheless locked behind a paywall in the course of the preliminary months of the work-from-home period, and whereas it will definitely turned as simple to make use of as Zoom, it was after Zoom turned a family identify.

Google Duo got here out in 2016 alongside the “companion app” Google Allo as a response to the expansion of WhatsApp. Google and Facebook acquired right into a $22 billion bidding war for WhatsApp two years earlier. Google misplaced and spent the subsequent two years making a WhatsApp clone referred to as Google Allo. Rather than combine video chat into the app, Google cut up video performance right into a separate app referred to as Google Duo. WhatsApp didn’t have video chat on the time, so you might use Google Duo video chat with Facebook’s WhatsApp or Google’s Allo, for those who needed.

Allo and Duo have been initially targeted on India, which led Duo to construct a one-to-one video chat system that used little bandwidth and labored nicely on unstable connections. That environment friendly video chat system would be the foundation for the brand new mixed app, with Google constructing Meet’s assembly hyperlink performance into Duo and rebranding it. The set up base might be additionally an element right here. As a default Android app, Google Duo has greater than 5 billion downloads on the Play Store whereas Meet solely has 100 million. Google’s path makes for a smoother transition for these 5 billion installs, whereas the 100 million should change manually. Google says that it’ll conceal the outdated, unique Google Meet app from app retailer searches in September. Eventually, it might want to implement a pop-up message for current customers of the outdated Google Meet app that tells them to improve.

This transfer is going on as a result of Google “unified” its messaging groups in 2020, with a single individual, Google Workspace VP and GM Javier Soltero, taking the reins of “all of Google’s collective communication products.” That ought to imply Google Hangouts, Google Meet, Google Chat, Google Messages, Google Duo, and Google Voice, and Google even threw within the Android cellphone app for good measure. It was introduced final month that Soltero is leaving Google, although, in order that’s solely two years on the messaging unification job. Nobody is aware of who, if anybody, is taking on as the brand new “head of messaging.” Soltero’s plan remains to be taking place, although—in addition to this Meet and Duo merger, Hangouts will lastly shut down in a number of months. This new, extra cohesive lineup will go away one Google video app and three Google chat apps.

This story initially appeared on Ars Technica.

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