Google has officially announced that it’s releasing a free version of Google Meet, its video conferencing platform. Earlier, it was only available to enterprise and education customers solely via G Suite. However, in an attempt to compete directly with Zoom during this pandemic, Google is now making the service free for everyone with a Google account who wants to use it.
Google account holders are now capable of creating free meetings comprising of up to 100 people for an unlimited amount of time all the way till September. After that month, the duration of each video conference will be limited to 60 minutes.
While the available features clearly makes Meet more than a match for Zoom, Google also wanted to focus on solving privacy issues that have been prevalent in the latter. The privacy features it intends to add include not allowing users to join meetings unless they are invited via link or approved by the host, not allowing anonymous users to join, and forcing mobile phone users to use the official Google Meet app.
Google has also explained that the Meet data will be protected and will not be sold to advertisers or third parties. In a recent blog post, the company stated: “Google Cloud undergoes regular rigorous security and privacy audits for all its services. Our global compliance certifications can help support regulatory requirements such as GDPR and HIPAA, as well as COPPA and FERPA for education. Your Meet data is not used for advertising, and we don’t sell your data to third parties.”
It’s worth noting that Google Meet is not a new app per se. It’s merely the business-oriented version of the popular communications platform Google Hangouts.