In a bid to dethrone popular video conferencing app Zoom, Google is making Meet free for all users. As a result, anyone with a Google account can create a meeting with up to 100 people for free, without any time limit. After September 30, free meetings will be restricted to 60 minutes.
Up until now, Meet was available only to enterprise users or educators enrolled in G Suite. Now everyone can use the service, free of charge. If this charitable action is successful, Google could narrow the gap between the 100 million users on Meet and the 300 million who still use Zoom despite its unending security and privacy problems.
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However, a downside to Meet when compared to Zoom is accessibility. Users will need a Google account to create and join a call. While most of your friends and family probably already have one, making people login is an added step that Zoom and other video conferencing apps don't require.
Google Meet security and features
On the other hand, Google touts the security of Meet, and vetting guests before they can join a call could prevent Zoombombing, or when uninvited guests disrupt a chat.
Other security measures Google outlined in a blog post include host controls for admitting and denying entry into a call, along with the ability to mute or remove participants. Meet meetings are encrypted and so are all recordings stored on Drive.
Google launches G Suite Essentials
For those who are already G Suite customers, Google is launching another version called G Suite Essentials.
The new service will give users access to advanced features, such as dial-in phone numbers, larger meetings, and meeting recording. G Suite Essentials is free of charge for G Suite customers through Sept 30.
Stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus have made companies loosen their grips on certain services so people can keep in touch with each other and navigate the challenges of working from home. Google is hoping that a taste of its Meet video conferencing service will make people subscribe for the full G Suite meal.
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Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.