Google Meet Video Conferencing Is Now Free For All Putting Zoom In Its Crosshairs

Google Meet
It seems as though everyone is into video conferencing these days, and understandably so—it's a critical service for remote work, and a way to keep yourself sane during this time of social distancing (having weekly meetups with friends and family members is great for staying in touch). With all that in mind, Google has decided to make its premium Meet video conferencing service free for all.

Up until now, Google Meet has only been available through G Suite, making it exclusive to enterprise and education customers. Over the coming weeks, anyone with an email address will be able to sing up for Meet and access the same features as G Suite customers, such screen sharing, simple scheduling, real-time captions, and different layouts.

There is still a benefit for paid users. The free version of Google Meet is limited to 60 minutes, though Google will not enforce the time limit until after September 30, 2020. Hopefully by then life will be back to 'normal', as much as possible.

Google will also make certain advanced features free through September 30, such as dial-in phone numbers, larger meetings, and the ability to record meetings.

This is a direct shot at Zoom, even though Google does come right out and say it. In comparison, Zoom's free offering limits sessions to 40 minutes. Both Google Meet and Zoom allow 100 people to participate in a call, which is twice as many as Facebook's upcoming video conferencing service supports, and also Skype.

Google is also touting the privacy and security benefits of a Meet session.

"Meet is designed, built and operated to be secure at scale. Since January, we’ve seen Meet’s peak daily usage grow by 30x. As of this month, Meet is hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding roughly 3 million new users every day. And as of last week, Meet’s daily meeting participants surpassed 100 million," Google said.

Security and privacy have been sore points for Zoom, which admitted to missteps in those areas because it never envisioned this type of scenario where mainstream users would flock to its service. Zoom rolled out a recent update that addressed many of the service's shortcomings, but for those looking for a Zoom alternative, Meet just entered the fray.

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