This month, Google announced that it had begun a gradual phase-out of its consumer-facing video calling app, Google Duo. According to the tech firm, the feature-packed Google Duo will no longer be part of the pre-installed apps on android mobile phones. Instead, the company intends to blend all of its video features into its other video-calling app: Google Meets. As a result, android users with Google Duo app on their phones will automatically have the app’s icon change to Google Meet’s icon as soon as they update it.
In 2016, Google launched Duo, its first video calling app, to function as a social app for people to connect with themselves via video. The app started with a commendable adoption rate by users, especially as all it required was dialing receiver’s phone number. However, its market was soon eclipsed by the launch of the same feature on WhatsApp, one of the world’s most used social apps. It did not help that, unlike WhatsApp, Duo wasn’t designed with instant messaging features.
The following year, Google iterated on its video product and released a “Duo-for-business app”, Google Meet, entering into a market dominated by older players like Zoom. Google Meet caught on well, leveraging Google’s suite of business products to become a household name for many businesses across the globe.
However, Google’s consumer-facing Duo could not catch up with its competitors (like WhatsApp) the way the company’s business-facing Meet was doing on it’s own (like Microsoft’s Teams and Zoom). Now, the tech behemoth has decided to discontinue the consumer-facing video messaging product and optimise its value offering in Google Meets.
“We’re upgrading the Google Duo experience to include all Google Meet features and bring our two video calling services together into a single solution. This upgrade, which started rolling out last month, gives everyone access to new features like scheduling and joining meetings, virtual backgrounds, in-meeting chat and more, in addition to your current video calling features,” the company said in a blog post.
“If you’re using the existing Google Meet app, there will be no change to your experience. Your existing Meet app and icon will change to Google Meet (original). You can continue using this app to join and schedule meetings, but we recommend using the updated Google Meet app to get combined video meeting and calling features all in one place” it added.