There Are 2 Google Meet Apps Now

Google has started merging its Meet and Duo video-chat apps to create what the company calls a “single video communications service.”

Starting this week, Duo is getting an upgrade to include video calling and meeting capabilities. Once fully rolled out later this year, the app’s name and icon will also change to “Google Meet,” featuring a camera in Google’s familiar colors.

“We have been doing this carefully, first adding Google Meet features to the Duo app, and now rebranding Duo to Meet,” a company spokesperson tells PCMag. “And by the end of the year, [we’ll] have everything in one web and mobile experience during Google Meet.”

Confusingly, the existing Google Meet is sticking around for a bit—now with different-color logos to help differentiate the new “Google Meet” from “Google Meet (original),” the latter of which will one day be put out to pasture, (alongside Labs, Wave, Reader, and, soon, Hangouts).

Color schemes for Google Meet, Google Meet (original), and Google Duo

If you’re puzzled by the alterations (and, frankly, we all are a little), Google released a couple of help articles about changes to Duo and the impact this has on various app icons.

One-to-one video calling app Duo launched in August 2016 as a FaceTime alternative for iOS and Android mobile users. Based on your existing phone number, it taps into your contact list and automatically adjusts call quality to changing network conditions—switching between Wi-Fi and cellular data without dropping the conversation.

Google formally launched Meet, formerly known as Hangouts Meet, in March 2017, but the enterprise-friendly, video-conferencing service really picked up steam in April 2020, when the platform became free to everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the years, Google has bulked up the programs, introducing features like virtual effects, live captions, and noise cancellation. Now it’s combining all that (and more) into one app.

“Existing video calling features from Duo are here to stay, including the ability to make video calls to friends and family by phone number or email address, use fun filters and effects, send messages, and ask Google Assistant to call using existing devices,” according to a June blog announcement. “All conversation history, contacts, and messages will continue to be saved in the app and there will be no new app to download.”

Users can also expect enhanced functions like custom backgrounds, meeting scheduling, in-house chat, integration with other Google tools, and the ability to invite up to 100 participants.

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