Google Meet Will Be Free for All in May

Google opening its business video conferencing platform to Gmail users

Many of us are not going back to work in our offices anytime soon and we need remote work communication tools. With some souring on Zoom, having another, secure, business class video meeting solution like Google Meet is good news.

Google Meet

Step aside Zoom, Skype, Facebook Rooms, and whatever other up and coming video conferencing platform you can think of, Google is officially stepping into the arena with Google Meet. To be clear, Google Meet is not new, it's a business-class video meeting platform that, as the company has announced, is now free for everyone. Last month, Google made Meet free for all G Suite and G Suite Enterprise customers.

Doesn't Google have Hangouts? Google Meet is like Google Hangout's business brother and has a raft of features designed to please enterprise customers, including the ability to support 250 participants (you can see a grid of 16 at once) and thousands of live stream viewers.

You won't get Zoomed again: Google Meet is stuffed full of safety features, including not allowing anonymous users, encrypting video chats in transit, no plug-ins (it works in your browser), and many of the host controls you desire, like the ability to mute a participant or deny entry to the meeting.

Can you trust them? Google promises that Meet data is not being sold to advertisers or given to third-parties.

How you get it: While the platform is now free, Google requires you have a Google account, which you can create with an email from any other service, to use Google Meet. Google also said that the service won't be available to all at once and you may, after creating that account, have to wait for an invite.

Business at bargain prices: While the free version would normally limit video meetings to an hour, Google is waiving that limit through September 30. During that time, free users will also get access to some business-class tools usually reserved for G Suite customers, including dial-in phone numbers and meeting recordings. All Google Meet meetings will support live captions, which means you'll be able to read what everyone is saying in real time.

Bottom line: Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing, and stay-at-home rules, the remote work population has exploded since March. And even as some places relax social distancing rules, millions may still opt to work outside offices. Free, secure, and easy-to-use video conferencing platforms will be even more important for home office workers in the coming months.

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