I’m annoyed by all the jokes people make on Google killing things willy-nilly. I think it’s because I’m so deeply embedded in the ecosystem that this kind of usually changes directly affects me. Google’s latest assassination target is Duo, which is now combined with Meet into a single video calling app. As much as it frustrates me, it’s another big example of why there are so many Killed by Google jokes.
Today, Google laid out the migration plan for Duo’s timely demise in a blog post detailing the update. The Duo app on Android and elsewhere will get Meet-like features in the coming weeks, including virtual backgrounds and the ability to coordinate and schedule a video meeting with multiple participants. Closed captions will also be available and video calls will be able to expand to up to 100 participants.
Google won’t officially convert Duo to Meet until later this year. When it does, the experience on your Android device and Google Assistant-driven smart displays shouldn’t be too different.. Your chat history, contacts, and messages will continue and you won’t have to download a new app.
Previously, Google Meet was reserved for the work setting, as it was the app you could connect to from your computer or Chromebook, while Google Duo was intended for use in the mobile environment. Some of the benefits of Google’s Duo included group calling, fun effects, and the ability to leave video messages if the person on the other line couldn’t pick up. I’ve often described Google Duo as the Android version of Apple’s FaceTime, even though I mainly used it to communicate with my immediate family and no one else – that was the problem.
When I told my husband about Google’s upcoming changes to Duo, his immediate response was “finally”. It made no sense for Google to have two different video chat apps between its platforms.
The company also seems to have realized this. Javier Soltero, head of Google Workspace, said The edge that “what has been really important is to understand how people make the choice of the tool they are going to use, for what purpose, in what circumstances”. Google saw that people operated based on their Google account or their Gmail address. By consolidating the two video applications, all you need is this address to contact, rather than anything else. It’s similar to the infrastructure behind Apple’s FaceTime.
Google Duo isn’t going away entirely, at least not in spirit. The rest of its features will be rolled into the new Meet, including the fun stuff I mentioned earlier. It also reduces reliance on third-party chat apps like WhatsApp to make a video call. Even with the availability of Google Duo on iOS, it was difficult to convince a friend or family member with an iPhone or iPad to download another one app to call my android device or my google smart screen. Going forward, all we will need from each other are our respective Google Accounts.