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To Compete with Zoom, Google Meet becomes Free for Everyone

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Google Meet becomes Free for Everyone

Google Meet, Google’s “premium” video conferencing service, is now free for the general public to compete with Zoom.
Users will be able to access the free service at meet.google.com or through the iOS and Android apps. While the service's free tier is unrestricted now, it won't be unrestricted forever. 
Google says that, after September 30, meetings for non-G Suite accounts will be limited to 60 minutes.
  • Google’s premium video conferencing tool Meet, which was only available to businesses, is now free for everyone.
  • Google hopes to seduce the general public and compete with Zoom, which exploded with containment, with 300 million daily users.
  • Google is focusing in particular on security and the one billion Gmail users.
Facebook unveiled Messenger Rooms last week. This Wednesday, Google is releasing heavy ordnance: its Meet service, which was previously paid and reserved for companies, will become free and accessible to everyone. The deployment is due to start next Monday and will be spread over several weeks. The meet will gradually replace the Hangouts video chat, which had not really changed in several years.
Previously known as ‘Google Hangouts Meet,’ the tool has only been available to G Suite customers until now.

Last month, the premium version of Meet was made free to existing G Suite users.
People could join a Meet call without paying for the product, but the call still had to be started by someone with a paid G Suite account.
That’s changing so everyone can start calls on Meet without having to pay for anything.

Features of Google Meet

With Google Meet, the general public will have access, on the computer as a desktop app, iOS, and Android, too:
  • videoconferencing up to 100 participants (google meet grid view)
  • a "mosaic" display that allows you to see 16 people at a time
  • unlimited sessions during the coronavirus (which will be limited to one hour after September 30)
  • the possibility of sharing your screen to give a presentation
  • captions in real-time thanks to artificial intelligence.

Google insists on security

COVID-19's shelter-in-place requirements made millions of people turn to work from home. That led to a huge spike in video chat users, but this general availability of Google Meet already seems like it was too late to ride this wave of users. The work-from-home trend started two months ago when Google Meet was still locked behind the GSuite paywall. Zoom was ready and burst into the public consciousness as a result. By now, it seems like most of the people who were going to transition to a video chat app have already done so, and they picked Zoom.
Tech Giant Google doesn't have a strong argument for why someone would switch from Zoom, either. Google alludes to better security in its blog post, but neither Zoom nor Google Meet is end-to-end encrypted. Both are only "encrypted in transit," which anyone who uses an HTTPS connection can claim. Your conversation might be private from the wider Internet, but it's possible that the service provider can view your meeting data. Participating in a meeting also requires a Google account, while Zoom makes it possible to join a meeting without any account at all. Zoom can secure a meeting with only a password, giving it a much lower barrier to entry.

According to Google, Meet last week passed the 100 million daily user mark and adds 3 million every day. The upcoming integration of the service with Gmail and Google Calendar should allow it to capitalize on a base of more than one billion users.
Google and Facebook aren't the only ones wanting their share of a booming videoconferencing market. Slack, Microsoft, Cisco, and the operator Verizon are also in the running. Because according to Smita Hashim, the coronavirus has changed the situation: "There will be no turning back," she predicts. “For telework, collaboration, or social ties, the trend is set to last. "

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