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Google Meet video conferencing is now free for anybody

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Google is opening up its Google Meet videoconferencing service to anyone who desires to make use of it, as an alternative of simply providing it to enterprise and training prospects by way of G Suite. The corporate says anyone with a Google account will now have the ability to create free conferences of as much as 100 folks that may final any period of time — although after September 30th it might limit assembly size to 60 minutes.

That Google account requirement is a tough one, nonetheless. Folks received’t have the ability to simply click on a hyperlink and be part of a gathering — they’ll have to be logged in. That’s so conferences might be higher managed by their hosts, hopefully eliminating the potential for Zoombombing. Google may even introduce different security measures: folks not explicitly added to a gathering by way of a calendar invite can be robotically entered right into a inexperienced room once they attempt to be part of a gathering, and solely be let in when permitted by the host. The free model may even not supply landline dial-in numbers for conferences.

These safety-focused caveats are Google’s manner of differentiating its Meet product from Zoom, which has had a meteoric rise that over the previous few months and caught both Google and Microsoft flat-footed. The elevated consideration on Zoom revealed a litany of safety issues, which the fast-growing firm has scrambled to deal with. However Google is seemingly hoping there’s nonetheless a gap for individuals who mistrust Zoom.

Google has belief issues of its personal in terms of conferencing and messaging merchandise. Google Meet solely turned “Google Meet” earlier this month — earlier than that the service was known as Hangouts Meet. That’s a legacy of the fractured and convoluted historical past of Google’s messaging and video apps the corporate continues to be attempting to flee. Hangouts Chat, Google’s Slack and Groups competitor, was additionally lately renamed to Google Chat.

Some Google customers could bear in mind (or nonetheless be utilizing) Hangouts Video chat, one other a type of legacy merchandise. Google says that product can be transitioned to Google Meet over time, in order that there’s only one platform for each shoppers and enterprise prospects. Google’s slow-and-steady progress is laudable for enterprise customers searching for stability from an organization as soon as well-known for its product-killing Spring cleanings, however at this level it’s previous time to completely sundown the Hangouts model.

Google Meet lately up to date to assist “Gallery view,” the Brady Bunch-style of placing all individuals in a single grid that Zoom largely popularized. The brand new mode is accessible in apps on cellular platforms and inside browsers on the desktop.

That’s unlikely to vary anytime quickly — in contrast to its opponents, Google is retaining G Suite and its associated product as web-first apps. That enables them to be always-updated and simpler to handle than native Home windows or macOS apps, however the strategy can introduce hassles like shedding your assembly in a sea of tabs or by accident exiting out of it.

Alongside the buyer availability for Meet, Google is unveiling a brand new tier for G Suite that it’s calling “G Suite Necessities,” which incorporates Meet and likewise Google Drive, however not Gmail. All present G Suite prospects will nonetheless have free entry to Meet via September 30th.

Lastly, Meet can be getting built-in into Gmail — each G Suite variations and common client Gmail addresses. In the identical manner that Microsoft has leveraged its Workplace dominance to drive folks to Groups, Google is absolutely using Gmail’s energy to push its built-in video conferencing app.

Zoom could have captured the zeitgeist, however Google and Microsoft are going to do their finest to ensure it doesn’t seize any extra of the market.

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