Microsoft Teams and Google Hangout Premium Available Free for Now

Coronavirus concerns are making more of us work from home

Why This Matters

Coronavirus concerns have many knowledge workers staying home; having the right tools to collaborate with each other is key. Microsoft and Google would definitely like you to use their specific product while you do so.

Teams and Hangouts logos
Microsoft / Google

Both Microsoft and Google have made their premium conferencing software available for free to anyone who needs it, for a limited time.

Hangouts: Google announced it would be opening up free access to advanced video conferencing features within Hangouts for both Gsuite and Gsuite for Education users. This will allow up to 250 participants per call, live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a specific domain, and the ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive. This will remain available until July 1, 2020.

Teams: According to The Verge, Microsoft plans to offer a six month free trial of the premium tier for its Teams software (which was originally offered to help schools, businesses, and hospitals in China set up on the platform). Companies will need to work with someone at Microsoft (or a partner) to set this up; it's not easily available for individuals. Microsoft is also planning to lift restrictions on how many users can be added to teams, as well as adding scheduling features.

The bottom line: Google has already told its entire North American workforce to work from home, while Microsoft has been encouraging its global employees to do the same. It also makes sense from a business standpoint to offer paid-type access to their respective conferencing suites—enterprise bosses might well convert over to Teams or Hangouts after months of using them with their own workers.

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