duo: Why Google may have failed to compose a ‘duet’ between Meet and Duo – Times of India
Google’s original video calling app Duo was perhaps meant to be merged with its Meet app. However, it looks like a merger of both the apps is unlikely as Google is not planning to develop a video service dedicated to final consumers, reports 9to5Google.
Google was planning to develop a single video calling platform for both business and personal users. This announcement was followed by the formation of a “unified team” to work on both business and private communications apps. It was initially planned to be a merger and was internally codenamed as Duet — a combination of Duo and Meet, but the Duo team was taken aback by the reducing interest in developing a service dedicated to the consumer.
Those plans changed later on when Duo and Meet leadership internally decided to not focus on consumer video calling and that it was putting all its resources on Meet that is mainly developed as a business product. After that, the only consumer friendly feature that was added to Google Meet was Duo’s ability to call users through phone numbers and not just email or a link. End-to-end encryption was another Duo feature that was decided to be included in Meet.
Duo has seen very little development in the last few years and the combined team responsible for Google video calling platform is focusing most of its resources work on Meet and making it a business product since then.
9to5Google reports that the tech giant has commented that there hasn’t been any change of plans ‘to continue investing in our consumer users’. The company also provided a list of features that they launched in 2021 like — refreshed Duo UI to support Material You, tablet and foldable device support, including Duo to Samsung TVs. HD screen sharing, 18 new video effects among others. There are some important Duo additions that Google explained as active development signs.
The new Duo UI was introduced in August 2021 to replace the older home screen that had a front camera live feed. Google has updated it with a simple list view that displays call history and the “New call” option for the users to do everything else. Again, this update matches a redesign that was offered to Google Meet earlier, which reflects Google’s priorities. The new updated home screen was developed to make the app easier for users to allow smoother maintenance reports 9to5Google. The mandatory Material You redesign, that swapped out the core UI components then came afterwards.
On the other hand, the expanded tablet and foldable device support and Duo on Samsung TVs were developed as an agreement with Samsung to ensure that Android also has a go-to video app that competes with FaceTime. The work in this area was a contractual one, suggests the report. Moreover, the other features like screen sharing were in the pipeline before, adds the report.
All these events suggest that the company has no clear plans for the development, replacement or total shutdown of Google Duo. It is also not clear if Google Meet will eventually become the app that is “good enough” for regular users who want to video call. Even if Google is expected to keep non-business usage in mind, the tech giant believes that a combined solution like Gmail with Chat, Meet, Docs, and more – will be enough for everyone.
Meet is expected to eventually change the Duo buttons that are present in Phone, Messages and other apps with Duo integration. But, Google seems to be giving up on developing a simpler app with the contact list where a single tap begins a video call immediately. If these are the future plans then Android will lack a direct competitor of FaceTime in coming years.