It’s been quite a while since Google last revamped its messaging apps, and we almost thought the search giant was finally over constantly tinkering with its messaging apps and services. Well, not so.
Today the company announced that it’s merging Meet with Duo. So far the former was aimed at business users primarily, while the latter was intended as everyone’s video messaging app to rival Apple’s FaceTime.
Starting “in the coming weeks”, Google will add all of the Meet features into the Duo app. Then, “later this year”, the Duo app will be renamed to Google Meet, at which point Meet will be the company’s single video communications service.
At least until Google changes its mind again, that is. And this being Google, and the topic being messaging apps, it’s pretty much a given that it will. Google’s constant launching, shelving, re-launching, re-branding, re-shelving, re-resurrecting, and merging of its various messaging-related apps has gotten so notorious over the years that it’s practically a meme at this point.
Anyway, back to the merging at hand – Duo will keep all of its existing video calling features even under the new name, and if you’re a Duo user your conversation history, contacts, and messages are safe as there won’t be another app to download. You’ll just wake up one day and find that Duo has a new name: Meet, and all of the additional features on top of what you’re used to.
These new features include customizable virtual backgrounds in calls and meetings, scheduling of meetings, in-meeting chat, live sharing of content, real-time closed captions, video calls with up to 100 participants, “enhanced video and audio experiences with noise cancellation”, and integration with other Google tools like Gmail, Calendar, Assistant, and Messages.
If you are using Duo or Meet at no cost today, you won’t have to pay anything for “the new experience”. If you’re currently using the Meet app, once Duo is renamed to Meet you’ll be offered the option to install that app when you open the old Meet app. Until then, the original Meet app will continue to work, and Meet in Gmail won’t be affected at all by the app shenanigans.