The integration of Google Meet and Google Duo, its two video chat applications, has begun in earnest. With the intention of keeping the Google Meet brand name while combining the finest of both code bases into the Google Duo app, Google announced the merger in June. This week, users will start to notice a change in the branding of the Duo app and website to Google Meet, according to an email from Google’s PR department. All of Google’s rebranding initiatives are in the deployment phase, so different people will experience them at different times. However, according to Google, everyone should have received the full rebrand by September.

As a result, Google Duo will now be known as Google Meet, and the current Google Meet software will remain available for a while. Thus, “Google Meet” is now available as two different apps. The two Meet apps are referred to as “Google Meet (original): The updated Meet app” and “Google Meet: The updated Duo app” in a Google help post that explains this incredibly perplexing scenario. The “Google Meet (original)” app is only being kept around until Google rebuilds the meeting feature on top of Google Duo; it will eventually be retired. Had everybody heard that?

Both the Meet and Duo video services were developed in response to Google’s much more reliable communication rivalry. Actually developed in 2017 as “Google Hangouts Meet,” a group video chat tool for business purposes, Google Meet actually took off in 2020 when the COVID-19 epidemic caused Zoom’s growth to surge. During the early stages of the work-from-home era, Google Meet was still kept behind a paywall. While it finally became as user-friendly as Zoom, it was after Zoom became well-known.

In response to the expansion of WhatsApp, Google Duo and Google Allo were released in 2016. Two years prior, WhatsApp was the subject of a $22 billion bidding war between Google and Facebook. After losing, Google spent the following two years developing Google Allo, a WhatsApp clone. Google created a new app called Google Duo for video capability rather than incorporating it into the main app. You could utilize Google Duo video chat with Facebook’s WhatsApp or Google’s Allo at the time because WhatsApp didn’t have video chat capabilities.

Initially concentrating on India, Allo and Duo developed a one-to-one video chat system that consumed little data and performed admirably across erratic connections. The new combined app will be based on that effective video chat technology, with Google integrating Meet’s meeting link feature into Duo and rebranding it. Most likely, the install base also plays a role in this. Google Duo boasts more than 5 billion downloads on the Play Store as a standard Android app, compared to Meet’s 100 million. While the 100 million will need to manually switch, those 5 billion downloads will move more easily under Google’s plan. In September, Google says it will remove the outdated, original Google Meet app from app store searches. It will eventually need to include a pop-up notice urging current users of the outdated Google Meet app to upgrade.

This transition is taking place as a result of Google’s “unification” of its message teams in 2020, when Javier Soltero, VP, and GM of Google Workspace, assumed control over “all of Google’s collective communication products.” That should entail Google Hangouts, Google Meet, Google Chat, Google Messages, Google Duo, and Google Voice. For good measure, Google also threw in the Android phone app. However, Soltero has only been in the message unification position for two years—his departure from Google was revealed last month. Nobody is certain of the identity of the new “chief of messaging.” Nevertheless, Soltero’s plan is still moving forward; in addition to the combination of Meet and Duo, Hangouts will be discontinued in a few months. Three Google chat applications and one Google video app will remain in the new, more streamlined assortment.


Alex Hoffman-Ellis is a nerd who love technology and computers. He has been building computers for over 5 years now, and have always loved the challenge of learning how to make them faster, better, and more efficient. He's here to share his insights on these as a journalist, a designer and a technologist with love for writing and tech stuff. Words from Alex Hoffman: “Technology is best when it brings people together.”