Google might be killing off Duo in favor of Meet

Google Duo on Android
Google Duo on Android (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda/Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google reportedly plans to kill off Duo and reposition Meet as its premier video-calling experience.
  • Meet is to pick up all of Google Duo's features over a two-year transition period.
  • Google had previously billed Duo as a consumer app and Meet as a business app.

Google is set to kill off Duo, its consumer-focused video-calling app, in favor of Meet. The former app had debuted with Google Allo, but had seen some success where Allo hadn't, granting it longevity of sorts. Now, with Meet gaining popularity, google seemingly wants to combine its video messaging efforts into once.

9to5Google broke the news this evening, reporting:

This decision is the result of Google placing its consumer communication services — Duo, Messages, and Android's Phone app — under the leadership of G Suite head Javier Soltero. After the unified team was made public in May, Soltero announced to employees that it does not make sense for Duo and Meet to coexist.Following the rise of work from home and remote learning, Google has moved aggressively to make Meet a Zoom competitor. Like Duo, it's now "free for everyone" to use and going after the same market.With all the focus on Meet, the new messaging chief opted to have the service become Google's one video calling service for both regular and enterprise customers. Internally, this is being described as a merger of the two services that is codenamed "Duet" — a portmanteau of Duo and Meet.We're told by sources that this new direction and the reduced interest in building a dedicated consumer service came as a surprise to the Duo team.

It's a bit perplexing on the one hand, considering how simple and easy to use Duo is. The plan to separate them by use-case was brilliant on the face of it, consumers would have a Facetime competitor and businesses could have a Skype counterpart. On the other hand, Meet has grown by leaps and bounds in popularity, and the pandemic may have shown Google trends it just couldn't ignore. For what it's worth, Google tells 9to5 that Duo has seen "astonishing growth" in the same period as well.

Duo won't die immediately, the report says that Google aims to bring over all of Duo's features into Meet over the next two years. Then, it'll head to the Google graveyard to join apps like Play Music, Allo, and Hangouts.

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Michael Allison