Geek

Another Video Conferencing Alternative: 'Google Meet' Will Be Free For All Users From May

Google Meet, the premium video-conferencing solution available to G Suite subscribers, will soon be made free for all users.

Starting early May, free access will be rolled out progressively over the next few weeks.

Anyone with a Google account and email address will then be able to join and create meetings at meet.google.com or through the Meet mobile app.

They can enjoy features like simple scheduling, screen sharing, real-time captions and tiled view. The usual 60-minute limit will also be lifted until 30 September.

If you are interested to know when the roll-out reaches you, you can sign up to be notified here.

“With the lines blurred between work and home, Google Meet can offer the polish needed for a work meeting, a tiled view for your online birthday party, and the security needed for a video call with your doctor,” said Javier Soltero, vice president of G Suite.

For organisations that are not subscribed to G Suite, Google is also offering a new edition called G Suite Essentials for free until 30 September.

The Essentials version will include Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides for real-time collaboration. It also provides access to some advanced Meet features like dial-in phone numbers, larger meetings and meeting recording.

These advanced video-conferencing features have been extended to existing G Suite customers since March.

Soaring Demand: About 3 Million New Users Daily

As we spend our days at home to fight the coronavirus, we now use video-conferencing more than ever to meet our needs for both work and personal social interaction.

Google Meet has recorded a 30x growth in peak daily usage since January, and recently surpassed 100 million daily meeting participants.

“As of this month, Meet is hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding roughly 3 million new users every day,” the firm said in a press release.

See everyone at once with the tiled view layout / Image Credit: Google

As a result, Google has accelerated the release of top-requested features to make its solution more useful to different groups of stakeholders.

“Whether it’s hospitals supporting patients via telehealth, banks working with loan applicants, retailers assisting customers remotely, or manufacturers interacting safely with warehouse technicians, businesses across every industry are using Meet to stay connected,” it added.

Security Ensured With ‘Default-On’ Safety Measures

While growth has been skyrocketing, Google ensured that Meet is designed to remain secure no matter how many users are on the platform at once.

“We designed Meet to operate on a secure foundation, providing the protections needed to keep our users safe, their data secure, and their information private.”

The company does this through a set of safety measures that are always on by default.

For example, participants are identified through their Google account, and Meet will not allow anonymous users (without a Google account) to join meetings created by individuals.

Meet’s host controls allow hosts to admit or deny entry to meetings, and mute or remove participants if needed.

Using the tool also does not require users to install any plug-ins. It works entirely on web browsers in order to limit vulnerability to security threats.

Additionally, all video meetings and their recordings are encrypted in transit as well as after they are stored in Google Drive.

A full list of Google Meet’s security features can be found here.

Featured Image Credit: G Suite

 

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