Google Meet offered free until September — a competitor to Zoom?

Google Meet is usually only available to paying business customers, but all consumers can now make use of the platform during the current outbreak from early May.

Up to 100 participants will be able to attend meetings on Meet, versus 250 attendees for business G Suite customers, with a view to expand the participation limit over the coming weeks.

Users can sign up to a notification system that will let them know when the service has become available to them, as they may not be able to start meetings on Meet straight away.

For the free product, meetings have a time limit of 60 minutes, although Google Cloud have stated that they will not enforce this until after the 30th September.

“With the lines blurred between work and home, Google Meet can offer the polish needed for a work meeting, a tiled view for your online birthday party and the security needed for a video call with your doctor,” said Javier Soltero, vice-president of G Suite. “We’re in the middle of a significant worldwide shift impacting communication from the workplace to schools to the home.

“People want familiar, secure tools that they can use across all facets of their lives.”

Google Meet’s daily usage has grown 30 times since January, and has been gaining an average of 3 million users daily.

Additionally, the total amount of users surpassed 100 million last week.

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Organisations that don’t already use G Suite can make use of G Suite Essentials, a new edition of the platform that offers Google Meets, as well as Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides, free of charge until the 30th September.

“As digital communication has become a vital part of everyone’s lives, there is an increased demand for video-conferencing solutions that provide security and reliability together with popular features like tiled view,” said Jim Lundy, CEO, lead analyst at Aragon Research. “We’re seeing enterprises and consumers alike choose Google Meet for its ability to securely support a high volume of users, while still providing robust functionality.

“Combined with its integration with widely used G Suite tools like Gmail and Calendar, users see Meet as a compelling video communications solution.”

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Security measures

Google Meet currently has the following security measures in place:

  • Users cannot join meetings created by an individual account without a Google account;
  • Hosts can deny access to meetings;
  • Plugins aren’t required to join a meeting, and can be accessed entirely using a browser;
  • Meetings and recordings stored in Google Drive are encrypted in transit;
  • User data isn’t sold to third parties for advertising purposes


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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.