Google has entered the video conferencing market fight with the likes of Zoom and Facebook Messenger as it announces that its ‘Google Meet’ premium video conferencing service will soon be free for everyone.
Google Meet is a video conferencing service that, until now, has only been paid for as part of G Suite, Google’s collaboration and productivity solution for businesses, organisations, and schools.
Google says that Meet will be now available free to anyone on the web at meet.google.com and via mobile apps for iOS or Android (Meet apps can be found in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store). It is also possible to join Meet for free via Google Calendar.
100 Million+ Daily Meeting Participants
Google reports that, since January, Meet’s peak daily usage has grown by 30x and, as of April, Meet has been hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding approximately 3 million new users every day. Google also says that, as of last week, Meet’s daily meeting participants surpassed 100 million. A reported 6 million companies and organisations now use G Suite.
Even though Google will soon be offering Meet for free, meetings will be limited to 60 minutes for the free product after 30 September.
The services that businesses and organisations can expect to get for free with Meet include free access to Meet’s advanced features (for G Suite customers) including the ability to live stream for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain, free additional Meet licenses for existing G Suite customers and free G Suite Essentials for enterprise customers.
Businesses and organisations may have to wait a week or two to get free access to Meet as it will be rolled out gradually from next week.
Although using Meet may be a little more demanding than simply clicking on a link (as with Zoom), Google is keen to point out that Meet users have the benefits of advanced security.
The current global need for people to work remotely and yet collaborate effectively has led to fierce competition among tech companies looking to gain large numbers of new users e.g. Zoom, Facebook Messenger (now offering a desktop app), and Microsoft wanting to release a consumer edition of Teams. Google is the next to throw its hat into the ring and is in a good position to do so with a free version of an already popular premium service. Tech companies realise that if they can lead the remote, collaborative working race now they can gain large numbers of new users, many of whom may become loyal and committed to their platforms and could be monetised later. For businesses and other users, there is now a great deal of choice between the options available for free remote and collaborative working platforms and services, and those which are easiest, add the most value, are most effective and secure and are most compatible with existing resources and practices are likely to be favoured going forward.