Google is combining Meet and Duo into a single app for voice and video calls
Google Duo and Google Meet merger is actually happening. Google officially confirmed the move on Wednesday, explaining in a blog post that the goal is to create a "single video communications service" and that the Duo brand will go away in favor of Google Meet.
"In the coming weeks, we will add all the features of Google Meet to the Duo app so that users can easily schedule a video meeting at their convenience or continue to use video calling to connect instantly with a person or group," according to a statement from the company.
The integration of the two platforms will result in text chats, an intuitive interface, live captioning, virtual backgrounds, effects, filters, automatic noise reduction and lighting controls, file sharing and call scheduling, contacts, call history and a number of other innovations.
The developers have also improved the reliability and quality of the app and introduced new moderation controls. This will make online meetings more secure.
Here's a quick recap of the long history of Google communication apps: Google Duo launched in 2016 as a standalone video chat app with a "companion" messaging app called "Google Allo." Google had just failed in its attempt to buy WhatsApp two years earlier (Facebook made the $22 billion acquisition instead), so it fired up its photocopiers for Google Allo, which was a straight-up WhatsApp clone. It used SMS-based phone number identification instead of a Google account, and it was restricted to one device at a time, following the very non-Googley way that WhatsApp works.
Launching two communication apps at the same time seemed strange, but the idea was that Google could pitch Duo as a companion to WhatsApp as well as Allo. Normally, a company would be expected to include video chat capabilities in its new messaging app—like Hangouts or Facebook Messenger or (eventually) WhatsApp. Presumably, though, Google knew it could not compete with the WhatsApp juggernaut in chat, so a standalone video app was made, with a Whatsapp clone to go with it. WhatsApp users can stay on WhatsApp for chat, but they can add this Duo app to their arsenal.
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