Google Meet video conferencing now available for free for everybody
Hangouts is among the few Google apps that remained elusive of Google’s impulse to kill apps. For quite a few years now, Google has been signaling its desire to shut down Hangouts but instead of an abrupt end, the tech giant is simply rebranding Hangouts and giving it a corporate tough by splitting it into Meet and Chat for video conferences and conversations, respectively. As one of the final (intended and metaphorical) nails into Hangouts coffin, though, Google recently dropped the Hangouts branding and instead named the two apps Google Meet and Google Chat.
Out of the two apps, Google Meet is more focussed on business clients since it competes with apps like Zoom and Skype. This is why Meet had only been available to users with G Suite accounts or via a subscription. But today, Google has announced that Meet will also be available for all Gmail users. You can now simply visit meet.google.com and host a new meeting or join an existing one. You can also add links to video conferences directly into Google Calendar invites.
Google Meet allows meetings with up to 100 participants. Additionally, you get features live captions and screen sharing. The only limitation to the free accounts is that meetings can only be 60-minutes long but that too applies only after September. Unlike G Suite users, free users will also not see direct shortcuts to Meet and Chat in Gmail itself.
From a security perspective, Meet may be able to woo some of the users vexed by Zoom’s privacy and encryption issues. You can either use Meet on any web browser or on mobile using its Android or iOS apps.
G Suite Essentials
Google also announced a stripped-down version of G Suite for small teams and businesses. The plan is called “G Suite Essentials” and it includes access to Meet’s more useful and advanced features like meeting recordings, dial-in numbers, and larger meetings. G Suite Essentials is free to use until September 30th and you can express your interest by filling up this form.
Source: Google Blog