Google is about to simplify its communication services. The company announced today it plans to merge Duo and Meet, its two disparate video calling apps, into a single platform. Starting over the next few weeks, Google will begin adding Meet features to Duo. Once that happens, you’ll be able to use the app, which up to this point was primarily designed for personal video calling, to schedule meetings. Other features that will make their way to Duo include support for virtual backgrounds, live-sharing content and in-meeting text chat.
At the same time, Google promises features Duo users know and love, such as the ability to apply filters and effects to your calls, won’t be going anywhere. Additionally, your call history, contacts and messages won’t disappear from the app. It’s all part of Google’s pledge to “carefully” integrate the two platforms and ensure it supports as many users as possible.
Once that process is complete, Google will rename the mobile versions of both apps, with Duo becoming Meet and the current Meet becoming Meet Original. The company told The Verge it plans to deprecate the latter eventually. If all that sounds confusing, there’s a good reason for Google’s approach. The company said it built a lot of sophistication into the Duo mobile app, and it sounds like Google doesn’t want to abandon that work.
As for Google’s reason for merging the two apps, the company believes that doing so will ultimately benefit users. “Over the last few years, Duo and Meet have continued to grow with the evolving needs of video calls and meetings, and now the experiences will be better together as Google Meet,” a spokesperson for the company told Engadget. Of course, the tricky part for Google will be finding a way to integrate the two apps without making the resulting service feel overwhelming. Many people love Duo for its simplicity, and a sudden influx of new features and added complexity may make them look elsewhere.