Google rolls out the first phase of the plan that will make Duo and Meet one video app

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Phase 1 of the Duo-Meet combo is now rolling out and changes are taking place in Duo

Google has a support page that lists some of the changes Duo users can expect when Google’s consumer video chat platform is combined with the more enterprise-oriented Google Meet service. As Google notes, “Your Duo app will become Meet, with a new name and icon, and more features like background effects.” Meet meetings will begin after the rollout in the Duo app.

Features in Meet that Duo users can access include:

  • The ability to see and hear enhanced video and audio with noise reduction.
  • Chat with up to 100 people at once.
  • Be able to schedule a meeting or set up instant meetings so people can join when they’re ready.
  • Add live captions during a video call.
Google Duo features that remain include:
  • Start the video calling process with friends and family by using a phone number or an email address.
  • Get some laughs by using filters and effects.
  • The ability to send messages.
  • Ask Google Assistant to make calls from your existing devices.

If you’re concerned about having to pay for services you got for free, Google says, “If you use Google Duo or Meet for free today, you won’t have to pay for the new experience.” Just as importantly, Google Duo’s current video calling features aren’t going away. Things like Google Duo conversation history, contacts, and messages are preserved.

It’s also good to know that ‘Meet in Gmail’ is still available to users without any changes. And here’s one more thing you should know. While these updates are rolling out to the Google Duo app, the original Meet app will continue to work. And after that Google has finished updating Duo, users who try to open the Meet app will be directed to the revised Duo platform which will be called “Meet” by then.

Make sure Duo’s automatic update switch is turned on. If you turn off the auto-update feature for Duo, you’ll get the rebranded version of Duo in a future Android update. And the next series of Duo will feature the rebranding of the app. For now, when you open Duo, you’ll be greeted by a floating action button that no longer says “Call,” but instead says “New.” It gives you the option to ‘Create a new meeting’ and ‘Schedule in Google Calendar’.

In phase 2, Duo becomes Meet and takes over its icons and name

Keep in mind that people you’ve previously blocked in Duo will soon be able to join a group video chat. Meet also uses cloud encryption which, unlike end-to-end encryption, allows you to use features such as chat and live captioning. And once Duo becomes Meet, your Google account name and pronouns will be shown to others during a conversation.

The current rollout can be considered Phase 1. By the end of the year, Phase 2 will drop out and the Google Duo app will be rebranded as Google Meet using the existing Meet branding and icon. Duo was introduced to the world on May 18, 2016 at Google’s I/O developer conference that year. The service debuted on August 16, 2016.

Originally available by invitation only, Meet officially launched in March 2017. Basically, Duo is getting a makeover and identity change giving it many of Meet’s business-friendly features, including the ability to integrate with Gmail, Google Calendar, Assistant , Messages and more. Dave Citron, the product director for Google’s video products, said last month that the goal of the combination is to combine Meet and Duo with features that are available to everyone without excluding a user.

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