Google Meet vs. Zoom: What's the Difference?

See what sets these video conferencing apps apart

Google Meet launched quietly in 2017 as an invite-only app. Zoom made a meteoric rise to challenge all giants in cloud-based video conferencing. Thanks to their collaborative features of both services, online meetings are not just a little better, but better than ever before. But which online meeting is the better one between Zoom vs. Google Meet? We tested the free versions of both tools for you.

Illustration of Google Meet Vs Zoom

Zoom vs. Google Meet: Overall Findings

Google Meet
  • Simple to use.

  • Ideal for quick meetings.

  • Maximum participant capacity of 100 in the free plan.

  • Unlimited meetings with each up to 1 hour in duration.

  • Works on a large variety of browsers. 

Zoom
  • Richer set of features.

  • Ideal for larger meetings.

  • Maximum participant capacity of 100 in the free plan.

  • Unlimited meetings with each up to 40 minutes in duration.

  • Works on all operating systems including Linux.

While both services are feature-rich, they are not identical. Google Meet has all the essentials, but you might prefer Zoom for the richer set of options it gives you.

Installation: Use Both on All Platforms

Google Meet
  • Use Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Apple Safari.

  • Google recommends Dual core processors and minimum 2 GB of memory.

  • You'll need a Google account or a G Suite account to use Google Meet.

Zoom
  • Download the Zoom desktop client for Windows or Mac.

  • Zoom recommends Dual core processors and 4 GB of memory.

  • Sign in with a Zoom, Google, or Facebook account. 

To join a Google Meet session, you need just a browser. If you're working from home, you can also join a meeting from the mobile apps or iOS and Android or even a Google Nest Hub Max. You can also fall back on the Gmail app if you have iOS12 or above.

Google Meet

To launch a meeting from the invite link in Gmail, use a Google Calendar event, or join an instant video meeting by clicking the meeting link URL sent to you in a text or email. While you (or someone you invite) don't need a Google Account the meeting organizer or someone from the organization must grant you access to the meeting.

Zoom

While you can host or join a Zoom meeting from the browser, it won’t give you all the features. For the best experience, you should use the desktop client for Windows, macOS, Linux, or the Zoom app for Android or iOS. Zoom also works with an H.323 or SIP device. 

Pricing Plans: Generous for All Types of Users

Google Meet
  • 100 participants can take part in a group video call in the free plan (for a limited period).

  • A single meeting can last for 1 hour in the free plan.

  • Unlimited meetings.

Zoom
  • 100 participants can take part in a group video call in the free plan.

  • Maximum length of a group meeting cannot exceed 40 minutes in the free plan.

  • Unlimited meetings.

Google Meet and Zoom have different tiered plans but you can start with the generous free plans. It is sufficient for 1:1 personal chats and even adequate for small teams. 

Google Meet

Meet is like all Google services—free to use with a Google account. Keep in mind advanced features are only available with a paid G Suite subscription, A paid subscription will give you 300 hours per meeting and US or international dial-in phone numbers among other things. 

Zoom

Zoom has optional add-on plans on top of its four professional plans that cover unique needs like high-quality VoIP call-ins, larger group meetings of 500 or 1,000 users, and storage solutions on Zoom Cloud. 

If you just need to go by the number of video conferencing features, Zoom nudges ahead of Google Meet. But at the end of the day, your decision will depend on your unique needs.

During the Meeting: Plenty of Choices With Zoom

Google Meet
  • Switch between Tiles, Spotlight, and Sidebar layouts.

  • Shows only 16 faces in the Tiled view. 

Zoom
  • Choose between a Gallery view, Active Speaker view, and even a minimized floating thumbnail window 

  • The Gallery view in Zoom can display 49 users at once. 

Google Meet has a minimalist interface, but it can feel less intuitive when you go searching for the options. Zoom's controls are more prominent on the screen.

Both Meet and Zoom support a max video resolution of 720p. While both support multiple display modes for a large number of members, Google Meet can feel a bit restrictive as it shows only 16 faces in the Tiled view. Zoom can handle 49 users on one screen (which might feel overwhelming, but at least the option is there).

Zoom has better in-meeting features in the free basic tier. You can set up multiple video breakout rooms for specific projects. Zoom includes a feature called the Waiting Room that holds participants temporarily in a reserved "room." Virtual backgrounds can save you from a cluttered meeting background.

Zoom provides a virtual whiteboard to use during meetings. There are some excellent whiteboard tools you can use with Google Meet and then share your screen while in the meeting.

Overall, feature for feature, Zoom races ahead of Google Meet with its better offerings of in-meeting tools in the free versions.

Third-Party Apps: More Integrations If You Need Them

Google Meet
  • Google Drive storage of 15 GB (shared with your other Google apps).

  • Seamlessly integrated with Gmail and Google Calendar.

  • Connect Google Meet to Outlook with add-in for Microsoft Outlook.

Zoom
  • Add-ons available for all popular services at the Zoom Marketplace.

  • Extnsions and plugins also work with Outlook, Sharepoint, and cloud storage providers.

Both Meet and Zoom play well with others. The former works seamlessly with scheduling tools like Google Calendar. You can also use the Meet add-in to connect with a Microsoft Outlook event or email. 

Zoom offers a host of integrations. For instance, it can sync with Microsoft Outlook contacts and even set your Outlook status based on your current Zoom status. Set up file sharing integrations with Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, and SharePoint for smoother collaboration.

Do note that many integrations in Zoom rely on extensions and plugins from the Zoom Marketplace and may not be free.

The Winner: Zoom Gives You More Options

Zoom is a dedicated video conferencing service. That’s why everything goes into it to make that experience better. Though, it may be overkill for someone who needs a simple video chat solution and does not need to put video conversations at the core of collaboration. 

That’s where Google Meet can work for you. It is a successor to Google Hangouts and part of the other collaboration tools that Google already provides. You can work with either solution. Choose Google Meet if you need seamless interoperability with other Google tools. Go for Zoom if you need a complete video conferencing solution with all the productivity frills. 

The good thing about both these platforms is their free tier which is enough for individuals or small teams. Try them both out and see which is a better fit for your team size and the other applications you use.