Google is finally ready to get rid of Google Duo, the video and audio calling app it launched in 2016. This comes as tech companies are looking for ways to cut costs amid a terrible quarter that has seen companies like Netflix lay off staff.
In a blog post, Google which has sister brands like YouTube and the Pixel phone said that it will be moving all the features available on the Google Meet to the Google Duo. It also said that it will be merging both apps into one later this year which will be called Google Meet.
The Google Meet is also a call app launched in March 2017, that Google has marketed for professionals and corporate settings. It gives users the ability to schedule calls. Now, Duo users will be able to schedule calls and have access to other features that were until now only available on Google Meet.
“In the coming weeks, we’re adding all the Google Meet features to the Duo app, so users can easily schedule a video meeting at a time that works for everyone, or continue using video calling to instantly connect with a person or group,”the blog post from Google reads in part
“Later this year, we’ll rename the Duo app to Google Meet, our single video communications service across Google that is available to everyone at no cost,” the company adds in the post. Users of Google Duo will have to update their apps to benefit from the new features.
According to the blog post from Google: “In addition to having new ways to connect, this upgrade will give Duo users enhanced features, previously only available on Meet, to help make the most of their time together.”
New Features on Duo
Other features that will now be available to Duo users before it becomes Google Meet later in the year include:
- Customize virtual backgrounds in calls and meetings
- Schedule meetings so everyone can join at a time that’s convenient for them
- Use in-meeting chat for deeper engagement
- Live share content to enable interaction with all participants on the call
- Get real-time closed captions to better support accessibility and boost participation
- Increase the size of video calls from a current limit of 32 to 100 participants
- Integrate with other tools, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Assistant, Messages and more
While the company didn’t say if this is a financial decision, it said that the move is in line with its mission to “build a connected experience for all users,” of its products. “We’re excited to bring our video calling and meeting technologies together into a single, powerful, easy-to-use solution,” the company said.
The company also added that video communication is going to be a major focus that it will be pouring investments into.
“Video communication is a major area of focus for us and you’ll continue to see our investments in Google Meet to help people to connect, collaborate, and share experiences on any device, at home, at school, and at work,” Google said.
As the world recovers from the pandemic which saw an increase in the use of video calls, tech companies have been looking for ways to make users opt for video communications as an integral part of the business model they are developing.
Apple worked on rebranding its FaceTime last year. Now users of other gadgets that aren’t by Apple can join FaceTime calls if an Apple user shares a link with them.
Google has been a fierce competitor with Apple since it launched its Pixel phone and Chome Book computers. Its new Google Meet will enter into competition with Apple’s FaceTime.
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