Google has decided to open up its Google Meet video conferencing service for anyone who wants to use it instead of just limiting it to enterprise and education customers via G Suite. The company states that anyone who has a Google Account will be able to create free meetings of up to 100 people that can last any amount of time. After September, they might change the length of the video conference to 60 minutes.
So unlike Zoom, where you can just enter a meeting via a link, you will first have to log into your Google account. This requirement has been set so the meetings can be controlled efficiently by the hosts as this eliminates possible situations like Zoommbing.
Google will also introduce other safety measures like people not explicitly added to a meeting via a calendar invite will be automatically entered into a green room when they try to join a meeting, and only be let in when approved by the host. The free version will also not offer landline dial-in numbers for meetings.
These safety measures are Google’s way of differentiating its Meet product from Zoom, which saw a rise in demand over the past few months and caught both Google and Microsoft flat-footed.
This caused all the attention to be directed towards Zoom that was not able to handle such high traffic and is now facing a number of security issues that the company has still not addressed. However, Google is hoping that people will shift to its service because they distrust Zoom.
Google is not that far behind either when it comes to security issues. Google Meet only became “Google Meet” earlier this month as, before that, the service was called Hangouts Meet.
Many Google users might remember Hangouts Video Chat that had huge problems of its own. However, Google’s slow-and-steady progress is laudable for enterprise users looking for stability from a company once famous for its product-killing Spring cleanings, but at this point, it’s useless to criticize the Hangouts brand.
Google Meet was recently updated to support “Gallery view,” the Brady Bunch-style of putting all participants in a single grid that Zoom largely popularized. The new mode is available in apps on mobile platforms and inside browsers on the desktop.
Along with making Meet available for customers, Google is also unmasking a new feature for G Suite called “G Suite Essentials”. This includes Meet and Google Drive but Gmail has been omitted. Meet is also being integrated into Gmail just like Microsoft allowed its Office to merge with Teams earlier.
So Zoom may have captured the attention of the users at first, but Google and Microsoft are not going to pass on opportunities of capturing the market once again.