Google is leaving no stones unturned to compete with rival Zoom, Skype, and all other popular video conferencing platforms. On Wednesday, the tech giant announced in a blog post that its video calling platform — Google Meet — will now be free for everyone across the globe. The free service will be available in the upcoming weeks. To help people around the world fight the ongoing pandemic Google is making Meet accessible for free to everyone until September 30, 2020.
Google has revealed that since January daily usage of Meet has grown by 30x. As of this month, Meet is hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding roughly 3 million new users every day. The company further confirms that last week Meet’s daily meeting participants surpassed 100 million.
Some of the services that the company is providing free of cost due to the COVID-19 pandemic are — free access to Meet’s advanced features for all G Suite customers, free additional Meet licenses for existing G Suite customers without any amendments to their current contract, and free G Suite Essentials for enterprise customers.
Google Meet is free for all
Google announced that starting early May anyone and everyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and make video calls and try out all the features such as simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts free of cost.
Commenting on the new initiative Google said “beginning next week, we’ll be gradually expanding its (Meet) availability to more and more people over the following weeks. This means you might not be able to create meetings at meet.google.com right away, but you can sign up to be notified when it’s available.”
Also Read: Here’s how to use Google Meet
Until now, Google Meet was a part of G Suite but moving forward it will be available to anyone for free on the web at meet.google.com and also via mobile apps for iOS or Android. Most importantly, if you are a Gmail or Google Calendar user you will be able to start or join a Meet meeting very easily.
How to use Google Meet free account
To start a meeting just use your Google account. You can simply sign in at meet.google.com by entering your email ID. However, people who don’t have a Google account can easily create one for free. The free calls on Google Meet will be limited to 60 minutes but Google said that it will not enforce the “time limit” until after September 30, possibly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, Google announced G Suite Essentials for groups within an organization. G Suite Essentials brings some of the advanced features of Meet such as dial-in phone numbers, larger meetings, and meeting recording. It also includes Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides for content creation and real-time collaboration for teams while remotely working from home. However, Google has announced that it is providing G Suite Essentials for free until September 30.
Google takes security seriously
With this growth comes great responsibility and hence Google takes the privacy and security of its users very seriously. For Meet, Google provides a strong set of host controls such as the ability to admit or deny entry to a meeting, and mute or remove participants, if needed. Meet also doesn’t allow anonymous users to join meetings created by individual accounts. The Meet meeting codes are complex by default and this keeps hackers away from the meeting room.
Encryption is important and hence the Meet video meetings are encrypted in transit, and all recordings stored in Google Drive are encrypted in transit and at rest. Meet users don’t require plugins to use the platform on the web. It works entirely in Chrome and other modern browsers making it less vulnerable to security threats.