Ever since the world went into lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, business meetings, classrooms, and friendly hangouts have moved online. Zoom has emerged as the winner among a host of video conferencing apps, with its userbase ballooning over 300 million. Google has been pushing to get its video conferencing tool, Google Meet, in the limelight by constantly adding new features over the past few days. But, it has now decided to go after Zoom with full-force by making Google Meet free to use for everyone.
Yes, you are reading that right. Google Meet is no longer restricted to G Suite users. If you have a Gmail account, you’ll soon be able to use Google’s video conferencing tool with up to 100 participants. You simply need to head to this link to start a meeting and invite your friends to join.
Google Meet is currently rolling out to everyone and should reach you over the coming weeks. You can register here to get notified when your account is eligible for free access.
Just a heads up, but the remaining 99 participants also need to have a Gmail account to join a call. The company, in an official blog post, says “We do not allow anonymous users (i.e., without a Google Account) to join meetings created by individual accounts.” And it is certainly the right way to go to avoid trolls and Zoom-bombing cases, where-in anyone can come and go to a meeting.
The company has emphasized the privacy and security of its service. All video calls and recordings are encrypted in transit, meeting codes are complex, and there are a host of admin controls in tow. But, it is important to note that Google Meet will be capped at 60 minutes per session in the free tier. The company, however, will not enforce this rule right away, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. This will go into effect from September 30, so you can hang out with your friends without any care until then.
Google Meet recently introduced a much-requested grid layout, low light mode on iOS and Android, noise cancellation, and a lot of other features to meet the demand of its growing users. Should Zoom worry about Google Meet’s free tier? Almost everyone has a Gmail account nowadays and it will soon come with easy access to a quality video conferencing tool for free.