The Google Meet video conferencing service will now be free for users as the company is one among many that are trying to compete with Zoom’s popularity during this current pandemic.
For now, Google Meet has been restricted to paying business customers with G Suite accounts. Although, starting next week, the company will be releasing this service to individuals with Google accounts.
Up to 100 people will be able to start meetings using the free accounts, and it will include features like screen sharing and a similar tiled layout to Zoom. Zoom has a limit of 40 minutes for free accounts, while Google is trying to one-up them with a 60 minute time limit up until September, which enables these meetings to go up to 24 hours.
Many other companies have also been trying to compete with Zoom. Skype has come up with the new feature named Meet Now, which lets users join the video meetings without the requirement of signing up for an account. It also contains other similar features such as screen sharing, blurred backgrounds as well as call recordings, which is a very popular feature on Zoom.
During this pandemic, Google says that Meet’s daily usage has risen 30-fold and they also add about three million users each day. The release of free accounts will be spaced out so as to not overload the service all at once. To access the new service, users should go to meet.google.com.
Google Hangouts already had this service of free consumer video conferencing prior to Google Meet, but it looks as though this service will not be mainstreamed for now.