If there are two things Google is notorious for, it is for suddenly killing even successful projects and constantly changing its messaging apps. The latter seems to be surprising again, which isn’t exactly surprising in light of the success of the almighty Zoom. Google has aggressively promoted its new Meet platform for both corporate customers and consumers, and its next step, which is likely to be unpopular, is to take the Duo down in favor of Meet.
The Google Duo has practically become the equivalent of Android’s FaceTime, acclaimed for its ease of use and fun features that make video calling individually or even in a small group extremely simple. It is precisely because of these features that have made it extremely popular, which in turn has led to the discontinuation of another Google instant messaging application, Allo. This popularity, however, happened before COVID-19 and before Zoom skyrocketed to fame and infamy.
Zoom’s success has forced companies like Google and Microsoft to step up their efforts in developing applications and videoconferencing platforms. For Google, this was Meet and its constant flow of new features made it attractive to some users. It has recently been made available free of charge to all users, including regular consumers. According to sources, Javier Soltero, head of G Suite, which 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 resources. Then again, it is exactly because of the Duo’s simplicity that it has become more popular with users. The trend currently leans towards video chats with dozens of participants that Duo doesn’t support, but like many trends, it may not be like this forever.
To be clear, Duo will not disappear immediately, as the plan is to make a transition of at least two years. Google has already been scolded for pushing Meet in the face of everyone, especially in Gmail, and this latest report is not going to make the service appealing to those who prefer simpler tools than full-featured tools.