Video conferencing will probably still be one of the top ways that companies and organizations will be meeting over the next few months. And so we’re seeing a rush with brands to be the app of choice for those meetings, digital events, and conferences. We’ve seen a lot of improvements from Google Meet the past few weeks so that they can compete with the likes of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Skype. Now we see probably the most crucial change that they’re making: Google Meet will now be available for free for everyone, not just G Suite users.
Technically, you could always participate in Meet video calls for free but only those with G Suite paid accounts could start calls. Starting next week, they will be expanding this feature to all users but they’re doing it gradually so you may not be able to start that meeting just yet. The only requirement is that you need to have a Google account, which most people probably have. You don’t need to download the Meet app (unless you want to) so you can join meetings on your Chrome or other browsers.
Security is, of course, a major concern for these video conferencing tools, given Zoom’s various security issues (Zoom-bombing anyone?). Google wants to highlight that Meet is built on a secure foundation. They have the usual controls like admitting or denying entry to users, muting and removing participants, etc. They also do not allow anonymous users that’s why they require users to have a Google account. The meeting codes are also complex so “brute-force guessing” will not work. If you want to have an even more secure way, you can enroll your account in the Advanced Protection Program, which has their “strongest protections available against phishing and account hijacking.”
So once Google has finished rolling it out, anyone can start and join a Google Meet by going to meet.google.com or by downloading the mobile app on Android. If you don’t have a Google account yet, you will have to create one now. Right now there’s no time limit but after September 30, the free users can only have up to 60 minutes for the video call. For more advanced features, your organization can sign up for G Suite Essentials which is free until September 30.
We’ll find out now if Google Meet can overtake Zoom as the most popular video conference tool. Previously what was stopping people was because of the G Suite limitation. Now that it’s free, there’s a chance it will garner more users, both for personal and business reasons.