Plans to merge Duo and Meet reportedly scrubbed by Google

Plans to merge Duo and Meet reportedly scrubbed by Google
Last year, we passed along a rumor that called for Google to combine its two video chat apps into one. Duo, the service oriented toward consumer video chats, would be merged with Meet. The latter is Google's video conferencing service that favors enterprise users.

Google no longer plans to offer one dedicated consumer-oriented video chat app for Android

Google's plan was to create a single video app that could be used when sending out a simple "Happy Birthday" video message (with balloon animations added), or at the supermarket to show your spouse that the store shelves are absolutely out of toilet paper again. The same app would be used to get everyone working at home on the Anderson contract together on video to discuss whether any adjustments need to be made.

According to 9to5 Google, the name of the platform was going to be Duet, a combination of the first two letters in Duo and the last two letters in Meet. But the latest report says that Google is no longer looking to combine the two video chat services although it will still replace Duo with Meet. In other words, Google no longer has plans to offer a dedicated consumer-focused video service.

Sources said that last year when discussions were being held and the plans evolving, members of the Google Duo team were surprised that Google had decided to stop developing a dedicated video chat app for consumers.

The only consumer-oriented feature that Google might add to Meet is one that gives consumers the ability to initiate a Meet video conference by making a phone call. Business users usually plan a video conferencing through Meet with the use of links and email. Enterprise video calls are more often planned in advance than consumer video calls are with the latter more often than not made on impulse.

Besides allowing Meet conferences to be initiated by a phone call, there also was talk about adding Duo's end-to-end encryption. The team that was working on Duet is now said to be deployed on the Meet team or working on other enterprise-related Google features. As a result, there has been very little development on Duo over the last year. Google told 9to5Google that there is "no change in our plans to continue investing in our consumer users."

The company made a list containing changes that it pushed out to Duo users this past year. The list includes a refreshed UI so that Duo could support Material You. Expanded support for tablets and foldable devices was also added along with the following:

  • Adding Duo to Samsung TVs.
  • Sharing HD screens.
  • New controls for sharing screens.
  • New protections and spam controls.
  • 18 new video effects were launched for Duo.
  • Updates were sent to improve Duo's reliability and quality.

Google believes having one video streaming app for Android will be less confusing

Duo's demise was already telegraphed by Google when it refreshed the app's homepage UI in August to match the homepage UI created for Google Meet. Whatever Google ultimately does, it says that it has a "rich roadmap next year for both consumers and business users."

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As we said, Google still plans on replacing Duo with Meet, but the focus will be on enterprise users which means that the app left standing will be called Meet and not Duet. With only one video conferencing app to choose from, Android users won't be confused about which one they should use making it similar to Apple users with FaceTime. Apple has promoted the use of FaceTime as a tool for businesses especially for those working from home.

With iOS 15, Apple added support allowing those with a non-Apple device to join a FaceTime video conference by accepting a link disseminated by a FaceTime user sharing a link from his/her Apple device.

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