Zoom has become very popular amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and due to security concerns, lots of people have been looking for alternatives. Google recently announced that they are making Meet, a video meeting tool available for free to everyone. Before this announcement, one could use Meet, but a paid G Suite account was a must-have to start calls.
Google announced that this platform would be available for free gradually, so don’t expect it to be free for you straight away. It may take several weeks before it is accessible to everyone.
With Meet, you can hold long meetings, but after September, the meetings will not be running for more than one hour. The other limit on Meet is a meeting cannot have more than 100 participants.
To participate in a meeting on the platform, you will need a Google account, which is not a problem for most people, since the highest percentage of people use Google accounts. In return, you get a more secure platform, according to Google.
“With COVID, video conferencing is really becoming an essential service, and we have seen video conferencing usage really go up,” the Director of Product Management at Google Cloud, Smita Hashim, told TechCrunch.
“We are accelerating what we are doing, given the crisis, and given the need for video conferencing at this point,” she added. “We will still have Google Hangouts product, but Google Meet availability we are accelerating. This is a newer product designed to scale to many more participants, and that has features like closed captioning and those kinds of things.”
That being said, Google Duo and Hangouts aren’t going anywhere in the meantime. However, this move might encourage the depreciation of consumer Hangouts.
It’s clear that Google saw the increased need for video conferencing tools, and with Zoom and Microsoft plans for the consumer edition of Teams, Google had to introduce Meet for free to capitalize on this breakout need for video conferencing tools fully.
“From a leadership perspective, the message was really: how can Google be more and more helpful,” Hashim answered when she was asked about what the discussion for the move was like.
Additionally, Google will also launch a new edition of G Suite, which will be known as G Suite Essentials. This edition is meant for small teams, and it will include access to Google Drive, Sheets, Slides, Docs, and Meet. It will be available for free up to September 30, 2020, after which Google will start charging for its use.
Enterprise users have not been left behind as Google has also added some perks available till September 30, including free access to advanced Meet features for G Suite customers, which includes the ability to stream up to one hundred thousand viewers within their domains and additional Meet licenses that will not require the need for an amendment contract.
Google shared some stats around Meet, which include, as of last week, the daily participants on the platform surpassed 100 million, and Meet now plays host to three billion minutes of video meetings. The peak daily usage on Meeting has tripled since January this year, Google also noted.