According to 9to5Google, Google intends to replace Duo with Meet in August 2020. The majority of Android users’ favorite software, Google Meet, will be renamed later this year as a result of this change, which was finally made official today.

BABEL’S TOWER (VIDEO) In the early to mid-2010s, if you asked a Google service customer how to make a free video call, they would likely respond using Hangouts. In 2016, Google Duo replaced the previous response as the most popular option. Google Duo is a very specialized and lightweight app.

The answer to that question began to change once more two years ago as work from home (WFH) saw Google regularly update Meet, which was introduced in 2017, and add new capabilities that make use of the company’s AI expertise. The greatest modification, though, was the degree to which Gmail and Meet were intertwined.

Gmail is probably Google’s most significant consumer-facing offering after Search (and YouTube). In 2020, the email app began surfacing Meet for all users, not just business clients. Due to its popularity, Meet became a more viable alternative to the service a typical Google Account holder would consider using.

Google Meet is the business’s sole connected option, the company is now formally stating. And it’s possible that by doing this, this unified Meet will become greater than the sum of its parts.

WHAT’S GOING ON: MEET WON Google is first adding all of the Google Meet features to the Duo app for Android and iOS. This encompasses the capacity for:

alter the virtual backdrops used in meetings and calls Plan meetings so that everyone can attend at a time that works for them. For greater engagement, use in-person messaging Live-sharing content allows for engagement with all callers. Get real-time closed captions to increase engagement and enhance accessibility. Increase the number of participants in video calls from the existing maximum of 32 to 100. Connect with additional programs, such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Assistant, Messages, and others.

Google is eager to note that the current Duo video calling features are permanent. Making video calls to friends and family through phone number or email is still an option. In Google Chat, it is already possible to make 1:1 calls without the need to first drop a link, but video calling someone by number is still a Duo feature that is crucial given the service’s integration with different phone dialer apps, including on the Pixel. You’ll be able to ask Google Assistant to call using current devices in the interim.

The company also emphasizes that you won’t need to download a new app because all of your contacts, messages, and conversation history will still be retained. Google is quite interested in converting the current user base, particularly given the success Duo has had (on Android) in comparison to the standalone Google Meet app, which will be discontinued following this move. (More instructions will be given to enterprise and educational administrators.) In both Gmail for mobile and Gmail for the web, Meet will continue to be a tab.

With the addition of all these capabilities, the homescreen has been enhanced to resemble Duo’s current history view, which is a common way for people to initiate calls. However, you might notice that the list’s new planned Meetings section comes first. You now have the option to Start a new meeting and Schedule in Google Calendar when you hit the New call FAB (floating action button) in the bottom-right corner. Similar modifications will be made to the Duos web experience everywhere as the original branding disappears.

If you are not a Workspace customer, Meet Today has restrictions on the duration of group video calls. If they mostly utilize the smartphone app, Duo/Meet users won’t typically run into them. However, group calls online will have a 60-minute time limit for free users.

In order to prevent consumers from falling behind or experiencing a decline in quality, Google will actively monitor this initial phase as it progresses over the coming weeks. No matter what the other person is using, you will still be able to make calls with your favourite app during this entire time.

REASON FOR THIS: COVERING EVERY CALL Later this year, after it is finished, the business will rename the Google Duo app to Google Meet. As a result, Google will offer a single, cost-free video communications service to all users.

Google’s goal for a single service (for video) is a return to the idea of a consolidated app from the Hangouts period. An indicator of how offensive this merger may initially sound for giving up such a beloved service as Duo is the phrase “how dare you” that was recently used in the 9to5 Slack channel.

There are reasons to be positive about this combination succeeding, though. The silver lining is how challenging communicating with others via video or audio actually is, and how challenging it will only become in the future.

You can use Google to contact anyone with this integrated Meet if you have their phone number, email address, are able to send them a Meet URL, or if you want to arrange something on their Calendar.

Users of Duo anticipate being able to call anyone simply launching the app, choosing a contact, or hitting the Duo button included in the Google Phone or Messages app. When Meet takes charge, none of it will change.

Interestingly, Google told us that consumers are increasingly eager to schedule calls as they re-enter the market, therefore Duo users will soon be able to do so with ease. On the other hand, the business discovered that Meets enterprise customers desire more immediate one-click call choices.

I’ll be the first to say that having three or four options for calling in is not the best scenario. The notion of having just one reliable way to contact someone is a platonic one, but it is getting less and less feasible as time goes on. This new Google Meet is the opposite of what iPhones offer with FaceTime.

Each Meet call initiation technique has a specific application. The closest Android comes to delivering a direct competitor to FaceTime is possessing a person’s contact information directly. Even still, having someone’s phone number suggests a deeper level of acquaintance than simply possessing their email address. The former lets you make a video call whenever you want, while the latter could require a confirmation text first. We now anticipate that establishing a link-based call will be a group exchange, therefore scheduling one could be best done with a specialized tool rather than through a text chain.

Google’s answer with Meet is to provide you with every method of contact. With so many possibilities, there is surely complexity that requires some learning. (Ideally, Google would use its AI capabilities to understand the context and advise the best course of action.)

The Google strategy is similar to throwing everything at the wall till that time. Old Duo users might need some time to fully grasp everything the new app can accomplish, but Google is banking that users will grow to value all the options.

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