If there are two things Google has been notorious for, it’s for suddenly killing off even successful projects and for constantly changing its messaging apps. The latter seems to be striking again, which isn’t exactly surprising in the light of the success of the almighty Zoom. Google has been aggressively pushing its new Meet platform both at enterprise customers as well as consumers and its next step, which will likely be just as unpopular, is to kick out Duo in Meet’s favor.
Google Duo has practically become Android’s FaceTime equivalent, hailed for its ease of use and fun features that make video calling one-on-one or even in a small group dead simple. It’s exactly because of those features that have made it extremely popular, which in turn led to the discontinuation of Google’s other instant messaging app, Allo. That popularity, however, happened back before COVID-19 and before Zoom skyrocketed to fame and infamy.
Zoom’s success forced the likes of Google and Microsoft to step up their efforts in developing video conferencing apps and platforms. For Google, that was Meet and its constant stream of new features did endear it to some users. It recently became available for free for all users, including regular consumers. According to sources, G Suite chief Javier Soltero, who also manages Duo, Messages, and the Phone app, it didn’t make sense to have two apps doing the same things.
Of course, Duo and Meet don’t do the same things, and Meet obviously has the advantage of having more features. Then again, it is exactly because of Duo’s simplicity that it became more popular among users. The trend these days leans towards video chats with dozens of participants that Duo can’t support but, like many trends, it might not be that way forever.
To be clear, Duo won’t be disappearing immediately as the plan is to have a two-year transition at least. Google has already been chided for shoving Meet into everyone’s faces, especially in Gmail, and this latest report isn’t going to endear the service to those who prefer to have simpler tools than bloated, feature-filled ones.