Upon Googling Duo and Meet

Photo by Nathan da Silva on Unsplash

Let’s Zoom is the new Let’s meet! With articles floating around about Zoom’s phenomenal overnight success, I found myself thinking about where its competitors are at. I googled Google’s Duo and Meet next. Let’s take a look at both.

Google pitches Duo as the casual video-calling application that comes with filters and effects to add some quirk. Supporting up to 12 people on the Mobile version, and up to 32 otherwise, the app comes without a screen-sharing feature, but sports a video and voice message feature and is known for its “Knock Knock” feature that lets the receiver see a live preview of the caller. This is as informal as it gets! What can be a put-off though is the fact that you cannot add new people in an ongoing call.

Google Meet(previously Hangouts) speaks corporate. Packaged with features such as noise cancellation, video recording, screen-sharing, adjustable screen layouts, video and audio preview screen (to check how you look and see who all have already joined in), live captioning, messaging as you speak, and customizable backgrounds, Meet makes you business ready. A big plus is its integration with the Gmail App and for those worried about bandwidth, Meet gives you the option of lowering your video resolution. What it does not offer however is a remote-control option.

While Google Duo comes free of cost, Google Meet has free and paid versions that allow up to 100 and 250 participants respectively. From what I read, it is quite evident that Google wanted to cater to two different use cases with two different products.

This makes me ask Why. To me it seems very logical for Google to have a one-for-all platform, merging the features of these two products into one. The segregation could probably happen with the host choosing a Meeting Mode like ‘Hangout’ or ‘Conference’ at the time of setting up a meeting request. But they chose to keep the two separate. And the fact is, neither Meet nor Duo is the most popular choice at the moment.

At present Google Meet does not offer remote-control, poll-and-survey options and whiteboard tools-features that the competition offers and gives users a richer facilitation experience. With Zoom, Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex and others, Google Meet in the corporate world doesn’t come out very strong.

When we take a closer look at Google Duo, we realize that by the time it arrived to the party, users were already familiar with other applications and had their favorites. With video-calling options on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Skype, the climb for Duo has been difficult. Thanks to better features, people end up using other video-conferencing platforms for work, platforms that can double up as informal video-chat apps. And when they want to hang out or virtual-party with friends and family, they don’t make the switch to Duo.

Looks like Google did not anticipate that divide-and-conquer could also just result in a divide without a bridge to cross over. It makes me wonder if Google could have done much better had it gone for a one-for-all conferencing platform offering the best of both worlds in one package.



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