Thursday, September 21, 2023

Google brought back Duo (sort of) because the Meet transition is so confusing

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Shreya Christina
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Google’s plan to consolidate its communications services into Meet was supposed to (finally) make things simpler and simpler. It was meant to bring some sense and order to a company that has always thought about this sort of thing and made it confusing – to a really impressive degree. Earlier this month, the company rebranded its Duo video chat app as Meet and took over the features of Meet. That left the original, phase-out Meet app with a new “Meet (Original)” name. It also made for an all-time great headline.

But apparently not all customers were happy with Duo’s sudden identity change. With the latest update to the Meet app for Android, Google has: reduced the original Duo icon and name as a separate shortcut that appears in the app launcher. Tapping Duo opens Google Meet. So now you have two ways to access the same application.

google told 9to5Google and droid life that it intentionally made this step so that users can launch Meet by searching for “Duo,” just like they had before it was renamed. But the fact that this was even necessary again points to a company that has lost track of its strategy around these services.

The Duo shortcut can come in handy to ease the transition, but it also opens the door to more confusion, especially when Google itself tells everyone to “look for the Meet name and icon as your only video calling app and meetings”. That’s not exactly the case anymore, is it? We’re back to two icons and two names for the same app. And if you open the multitasking view after launching Meet from the Duo shortcut, you’ll see the Duo icon at the top like this:

Google Meet with a Google Duo icon above it. Is complete, perfectly logical.
Screenshot by Chris Welch / The Verge

Great job, everyone. No notes. One day we’ll end up with just MessagesGoogle Chat and Google Meet after all this – sadly, without the clean, simple FaceTime alternative that Duo once was – but the road to get there turns out to be rather complicated.

I’m really glad it’s Friday.

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