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As reported by 9To5Google which first broke the news of a merger of the two products last year, the software giant initially set out to have a single video calling service aimed at both personal and business users. Following this decision, Google created a “unified team” to work on both its consumer and enterprise-focused video conferencing services.
The undertaking was originally billed as a merger with the code name “Duet” which 9To5Google points out is a portmanteau of Duo and Meet (Du + et). Although the combined team worked for most of last year under the impression that Duo and Meet would merge, Google's interest in building a dedicated video calling service for consumers waned.
Instead, the company shifted its focus to have Google Meet be primarily an enterprise product. This is because there was no longer a desire to build a video calling app that works equally well for consumers as it does for enterprise users.
Prioritizing Meet over Duo
Over the course of this year, Google's combined Meet/Duo team spent a majority of its time working on Meet and its enterprise features while Duo saw minimal development.
When 9To5Google reached out to the software giant regarding its upcoming plans, a company spokesperson said that there was “no change in our plans to continue investing in our consumer users”. Google also highlighted the new features added to Duo this year which include expanded tablet and foldable device support, HD screen sharing, new video effects, Google TV support, improvements to quality and reliability and more.
The biggest change to Duo this year though was a refreshed UI that replaced the old homescreen, that showed a live feed from a smartphone's front-facing camera, with a new simplified list of a user's call history and a “New call” button. However, a similar redesign was rolled out to Meet in October of 2020 which helps make the case that Meet and not Duo was the company's main priority.
While Google says that it has a “rich roadmap next year for both consumers and business users”, the company didn't expand on whether Meet or Duo will be the service receiving new features and upgrades next year.