In a blog post this morning, Google confirmed that Hangouts Meet is no longer a Hangouts product, and will simply be known as Google Meet. The post, which lays out Google Meet's extensive security and privacy credentials, makes no mention of the change, but refers to the product throughout as Google Meet. Similarly, the Meet support pages have almost all been updated with language calling the service Google Meet, where they previously said Hangouts Meet.
The official Hangouts Meet app for Android retains its old name at the time of this post, but we suspect that change will follow once the company decides on a new visual identity that doesn't include the old Hangouts logo, as the app currently does.
The app will likely need a new logo, as the current one prominently features the old Hangouts logo.
This then begs the question: What happens to Meet's sister service, Hangouts Chat? If I were a betting man, I'd guess a similar image rehabilitation is in the cards, and that the service will be renamed Google Chat (ironic, considering Google's first chat platform, Google Talk, was colloquially known as Gchat). It's possible that may not happen until the Hangouts consumer client is well and fully dead, though we still don't have a timeline for that shutdown.
What does this mean for Google Meet users? Obviously, not much. Getting away from the Hangouts name is a smart move: the brand is associated with a discontinued live streaming service, a disused video and call platform, and Google's mostly-loathed Hangouts instant messaging service. As Google attempts to go toe-to-toe with services like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack, it's probably wise to put the Google name front and center, as it does for so many of its other services (Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Keep, Google Assistant, the list goes on).
The timing of this change is likely no coincidence, either. Given the massive number of workers that have forcibly gone fully remote in the last few weeks across Google's primary market, the US, the Meet and Chat teams are doubtless under tremendous pressure to move forward their current soft launch plans and get to a fully rolled-out state. Could we see general consumer access opened up to these currently org-only (G Suite) apps sooner rather than later? Given the urgency, you might think yes, though Google's long track record of delays and staged rollouts for products would give me pause.
Google has confirmed to us officially that the Hangouts Meet branding will be retired, and the product will be known as Google Meet going forward. The rebrand will happen on a rolling basis, presumably meaning it will take time for it to disseminate globally, or to things like the Android app. Google had no comment at this time as to whether Hangouts Chat would be similarly rebranded.