Google rolls out first phase of plan that will turn Duo and Meet into one video app

Phase 1 of the Duo-Meet combination is rolling out now with changes taking place to Duo

Google has a support page that mentions some of the changes that Duo users can expect to see as Google’s consumer video chat platform combines with its more enterprise-focused Google Meet service. As Google notes, “Your Duo app will become Meet, with a new name and icon, and more features like background effects.” Meet meetings, after the rollout, will begin in the Duo app.

Features found in Meet that Duo users will have access to include:

  • The ability to see and hear enhanced video and audio with noise cancellation.
  • Chatting with up to 100 people at one time.
  • Being able to schedule a meeting or set up instant meetings so people can join when they’re ready.
  • Add live closed captions during a video call.
Google Duo features that remain include:
  • Begin the process of making a video calls to friends and family by using a phone number or an email address.
  • Get some laughs by using filters and effects.
  • The ability to send messages.
  • Asking Google Assistant to call with your existing devices.

If you’re concerned about having to pay for services that you were getting for free, Google says “If you use Google Duo or Meet at no cost today, you don’t need to pay for the new experience.” Just as important, current video calling features from Google Duo are not going away. Things like Google Duo’s conversation history, contacts, and messages will continue to be saved.

It’s also good to know that “Meet in Gmail” will still be available for users without any changes. And here is something else you need to know. While these updates roll out to the Google Duo app, the original Meet app will continue to work. And after Google has finished updating Duo, users who try to open the Meet app will be guided to the revised Duo platform which by then will be called “Meet.”

Make sure that you have Duo’s auto-update toggle on. If you disable the auto-update feature for Duo, a future Android update will give you the rebranded version of Duo. And the next series of Duo will include the rebranding of the app. For now, when you open Duo you’ll be greeted by a Floating Action Button that no longer says “Call” and instead says “New.” It gives you the option to “Create a new meeting” and “Schedule in Google Calendar.”

In phase 2, Duo becomes Meet and adopts the latter’s icons and name

Keep in mind that people you’ve previously blocked in Duo will be soon able to join a group video chat. Meet also uses cloud encryption which, unlike end-to-end-encryption, will allow you to use features such as chat and live captions. And once Duo becomes Meet, your Google Account name and pronouns will be shown to others when in a call.

The current rollout can be considered phase 1. By the end of the year, phase 2 will drop and the Google Duo app will be rebranded as Google Meet using Meet’s existing branding and icon. Duo was introduced to the world on May 18th, 2016 during Google’s I/O developer conference that year. Service debuted on August 16th, 2016.

Originally available via an invite only, Meet was officially launched in March, 2017. The bottom line is that Duo will be getting a makeover and identity change that will give it many of Meet’s enterprise-friendly features including the ability to integrate with Gmail, Google Calendar, Assistant, Messages and more. Dave Citron, the director of product for Google’s video products, said last month that the goal of the combination is to combine Meet and Duo with features available for everyone with no user being left out.

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