Google has never had a stellar track record for messaging platforms, frequently offering multiple services and apps much to the chagrin of users. To be fair, the company attempts to eventually consolidate those apps, but this only works until it comes across the next great idea and begins the cycle all over again. For the time being, Google appears to be fully behind RCS for text-based communication, even launching a campaign to pressure Apple into finally supporting the protocol. However, for video chat, it is shaping Google Meet to be the one video calling service to rule them all, and it has already begun the somewhat perplexing process of erasing Google Duo’s existence.
Google Duo started as a clear attempt to compete with Apple’s FaceTime, offering a simple service for one-on-one video calls that worked on both phones and computers. It eventually added more features, such as group calls, but its core focus of near-instant video chats remained unchanged. People’s needs changed over time, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when video calls became more complicated. Google Meet became the standard bearer, challenging Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and Google Duo became obsolete.
Google announced in June that it would essentially retire Google Duo, but in a roundabout way: it would incorporate all of Google Meet’s features into Google Duo while also rebranding Google Duo as Google Meet. That dance started a few weeks ago, but the story doesn’t stop there.
Google Meet gets new features
While Google Duo is gradually disappearing from phones, Google Meet is getting a few new features that will help make group meetings less stressful, according to Google’s blog. For starters, you can start a video call with a group right away, a feature that Google Duo was known for as long as the contact is in one’s address book. You can choose your background before jumping on a call, and once inside, you have access to all of the Meet features, such as chat and captions.
The more important news is that Google Meet is getting live sharing functionality, which will allow participants to become more active in a call. Everyone will be able to control a YouTube video or contribute to the creation of a Spotify playlist — this can even be useful for interactive video calls, such as when playing games during an ice breaker. Of course, this also applies to less entertaining content, such as presentations and other interactive content.
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It should not surprise users of Google Duo that the app’s name and icon have been changed to Google Meet. This new Meet app will include all the original Meet’s features as well as Duo’s unique features, such as the ability to make instant video calls using people’s phone numbers or email addresses. Users of Google Meet, on the other hand, can continue to use the existing app, the name, and icon of which will be changed to Google Meet (Original). Users are advised, however, to use the updated Meet app instead if they want the combined powers of Meet and Duo at their disposal.