Google Meet and Duo are merging but it's still a confusing proposition

Voice and video calls are now all in one place for all Google users and that's a good thing but it's not completely clear

Google Meet
(Image credit: Google)

Google offers some excellent apps as part of its suite of products but their naming has often been a little confusing. Now though, it's simplifying the offering by combining its Duo and Meet products into one singular voice and video chat function. 

While Duo and Meet have previously both offered video calls, Duo was more of a consumer tool for chats with friends, while Meet is more of a business tool for meetings (hence the name). In essence, Duo is more of a FaceTime, while Meet is closer to Zoom. 

The pandemic and remote working have seen the use of Google Meet spike and more people then started to use it for personal calls too. Duo has many advantages over Meet, including the ability to call mobile numbers, doodle, add masks and effects to your calls, as well as make voice calls. Meanwhile, Meet allows you to schedule video calls. The new app will bring all the features from both together. 

Google Meet

(Image credit: Google)

How these new products are combined is a little complicated though. The Duo app will be renamed Meet, while the current Meet app will be known as Meet original before eventually being retired later in the year. The logic behind this is to avoid losing any of the saved messages, contacts and history. Something that isn't really an issue with Meet. 

Google is banking on Meet being the more obvious name for video chat, and it definitely is but whether people will want to use the same tool for business calls as they do for personal ones is to be seen. I've always liked Skype but I'd not think to use Microsoft teams for a personal call. 

Google still offers a separate Chat app, as well as Spaces for group chats. I do wonder if ultimately Chat could look after all communication. After all, tools like Whatsapp and Messenger don't separate a voice and video chat, so there seems little need to here. 

In some ways, I would prefer to see Duo and Chat combine and leave Meet as its own business-focused offering. For now though, I'm happy to have one less choice to make for my video calls.  

As T3's Editor-in-Chief, Mat has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. He has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing, Hong Kong and Chicago is now based in the UK. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.