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Google just merged Google Meet and Duo — what it means for you

Image of Google Duo and Google Meet and Google Plus app icons on a phone screen
(Image credit: Primakov/Shutterstock)

Google is finally streamlining its video calling apps — Google Meet and Google Duo. Both apps have been part of the Google Workspace and offer similar features — which really made us question the need for two different calling apps. Now, the single app will be called Google Meet, but will take on features from Duo as well. 

Google Meet launched in 2017 and is a consumer- and workplace-focused app for video calling. Users have to share and join a unique link to enter a call or meeting. It is a well rounded and much more developed web platform. 

Google Duo on the other hand, was launched in 2016 (at the same time as the unsuccessful Allo app). It made calling a bit easier as calls could be placed directly to people including with their phone numbers. In that sense, Duo is more like Apple's FaceTime.

Gif of Google's new app interface that combines Google Meet and Google Duo

(Image credit: Google)

It would be wrong to say Google has killed Duo enitrely, because a lot of Duo features will migrate to Google Meet. You will still be able to call family and friends using filters; existing messages and history will remain on the app as well. 

In fact, the merged app will be Google Duo itself which will be renamed to Google Meet and will get all of the latter's features. The current Meet app will be called “Meet Original,” and might eventually be deprecated. 

Sound confusing? It probably is, even though Google's aim is to simplify things with just one video call app, whether it's for work or personal use.

With this app merger, Google hopes that the Meet brand can be known for something more than “meetings.” You will still be able to schedule meetings and integrate with apps like Gmail and Calendar. You will also be able to live share content, text chat in-meeting and have access to real-time captions. Meet will also support 100 members; earlier this number was capped at 32. 

In Google’s blog (opens in new tab), vice president and general manager of Google Workspace Javier Soltero said that, “In the coming weeks, we’re adding all the Google Meet features to the Duo app, so users can easily schedule a video meeting at a time that works for everyone, or continue using video calling to instantly connect with a person or group.”

The renaming of Duo to Meet will be done later in the year. 

Google also says that users will not have to download an additional app. But there are a few kinks that Google will have to iron out including how users will transition to the new app. It will take some balancing for Google to get this just right, but it is a move they could have done much earlier, maybe at the peak of the pandemic, when the use of Google Meet was soaring high.

Sanjana loves all things tech. From the latest phones, to quirky gadgets and the best deals, she's in sync with it all. Based in Atlanta, she is the news editor at Tom's Guide. Previously, she produced India's top technology show for NDTV and has been a tech news reporter on TV. Outside work, you can find her on a tennis court or sipping her favorite latte in instagrammable coffee shops in the city. Her work has appeared on NDTV Gadgets 360 and CNBC.