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 perfect 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, so that they’ll arrive at completely different instances for various individuals, however Google says the entire rebrand ought to end for everybody by September.
So Google Duo is being rebranded to Google Meet, and the prevailing Google Meet app is sticking round for a bit. That means there at the moment are 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 high of Google Duo. Did everybody comply with that?
The Meet and Duo video companies had been each constructed as reactions to Google’s far more stable communication competitors. Google Meet was technically created in 2017 as a bunch enterprise video chat utility referred to as “Google Hangouts Meet,” but it surely actually turned a significant venture 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 bought right into a $22 billion bidding war for WhatsApp two years earlier. Google misplaced and spent the following 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, when you wished.
Allo and Duo had been initially targeted on India, which led Duo to construct a one-to-one video chat system that used little bandwidth and labored effectively 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 swap manually. Google says that it’ll cover the outdated, authentic Google Meet app from app retailer searches in September. Eventually, it might want to implement a pop-up message for present customers of the outdated Google Meet app that tells them to improve.
This transfer is occurring 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 couple 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.