Google makes its video conferencing service Meet free in a bid to unseat popular rivals like Zoom
- Meet is free to all users after formerly being a part of Google’s premium G Suite
- The video conferencing service can host 100 participants at a time
- It also has screen-sharing features and real-time captioning
- Google said Meet will have a one-hour cap starting at the end of September
Google is making its video conferencing service free for all users in a bid to challenge rivals like Zoom.
The service, called Meet, was previously only available to customers who paid for Google’s G Suite, the tech giant’s enterprise service with commercial versions of Gmail, Google Drive and more.
While the service is currently the same as its formerly premium version, Google said that free users will have some restrictions starting on September 30, including a 60-minute cap on video calls.
Google Meet will be free for all users in a bid by the tech giant to challenge rivals like Zoom, a service that has exploded in popularity since December
The free versions will still be fairly robust, however. According to Google it will allow up to 100 participants on a single video call and will come with features like screen-sharing and real-time captions.
One of the biggest takeaways from Google’s decision to open up Meet is that the company is seemingly poising itself to take on rivals in the video conference space like Zoom, which has exploded in popularity as people are forced to telecommute during widespread lockdowns.
Zoom’s rise in popularity has been plagued by security issues as well, including ‘Zoombombing’, in which a stranger accesses a meeting uninvited and displays offensive material. In some cases that has included child abuse footage, which the National Crime Agency (NCA) says it is investigating.
Other companies like Facebook have also begun offering their own alternatives to Zoom as video conferencing becomes a more crucial service.
Google will join companies like Facebook which also rolled out its own alternative to Zoom this week called Messenger Rooms
This week, Facebook announced that it’s rolling out a new video chat feature called ‘Messenger Rooms’ that will let users create and share joinable chat rooms.
According to Facebook, Messenger Rooms can be created inside Facebook Messenger and can be shared on news feeds, or through different groups or events.
Once created, the rooms can host up to 50 people at a time regardless of whether they have a Facebook account. The company says there’s no limit on how long the rooms can remain open for.