Video conferencing is what most of us are spending our time on. Ever since the world went into lockdown and shutdown, video conferencing has become part of our lives. We are using video calling both for our business and personal purpose. Video conferencing is not a new thing; it has been in use for almost a decade. Earlier video conferencing was only for big enterprises and corporates. But this COVID-19 situation has made it a part of our daily lives even for normal human beings.
Among all the video conferencing platforms, Zoom is one player that has emerged as the real winner. In the matter of a few months, Zoom went from 10 million daily participants to 300 million daily participants in April.
Every major tech companies are trying their best to have a slice of this sweet pie. If you are following tech news, you must have heard a lot about different apps and services, adding new features or launching new service altogether to compete with Zoom. Google is one of those players who is trying to get its video conferencing platform Google Meet into the limelight by adding many Zoom like features. In the past month, Google has added many features such as grid layout, noise cancellation, low light mode on mobile apps, and many more.
This time, however, Google has dropped the biggest bomb on the Zoom by announcing that the Google Meet would be available for free.
Yes, you heard it right. Google is making its Google Meet service free for everyone. It is no longer restricted to G Suits users. If you didn’t know, Google Meet is Google’s enterprise-friendly video conferencing tool, which was earlier only available for G Suits users. It is no longer restricted to G Suits users. Anyone with a valid Google account can create and join any Google Meet meeting for free. You can simply visit the Google Meet page and create a meeting right away.
Google Meet supports participants up to 100 members. It has a 60 minutes limit on each meeting. Considering the current scenario, Google says it will enforce this time limit only after September 30. That means you can now host a video meeting with no time limits for free on Google Meet for now, at least. For comparison, the Zoom free tier only allows 45 minutes of video conferencing.
One thing to note is that Google won’t allow anonymous users to join meetings. That simply means that every participant must have a Google account and must be logged in to join any meetings. This should not be a big deal because most of us already have a Google account.
Google is not the best example of privacy, but it is certainly better than the Zoom. All the Meet videos are protected with encryption. “Meet video meetings are encrypted in transit, and all recordings stored in Google Drive are encrypted in transit and at rest,” an official blog post says.
The free Google Meet is currently rolling out in phases. You should get it over the coming weeks. You can also register yourselves to get notified when it is available for your Google account.
In the past months, we have seen Facebook launching Messenger Room, WhatsApp increasing group video participants to 8 from 4, Google’s Duo adding group video call participant limit to 12, Skype launching Skype Meet, and many other companies improving their video calling platforms. All these new developments show that video conferencing is the future, and it is here to stay.