Google’s premium video meetings are free for everyone and will roll out in the coming days.
With the move, any user will soon be able to host free video conferences on Meet, turning Google's previously business-only tool into a bigger rival to Zoom and others battling for users during the coronavirus outbreak.
Starting in early May, anyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and enjoy many of the same features available to our business and education users, such as simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to your preference, including an expanded tiled view.
Beginning next week, Google will be gradually expanding its availability to more and more people over the following weeks. This means you might not be able to create meetings at meet.google.com right away, but you can sign up to be notified when it’s available.
Meet is designed, built and operated to be secure at scale. Since January, Google says it has seen Meet’s peak daily usage grow by 30x. As of this month, Meet is hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding roughly 3 million new users every day. And as of last week, Meet’s daily meeting participants surpassed 100 million.
Google says it designed Meet to operate on a secure foundation. Here are just a few of our default-on safety measures:
- Google provides a strong set of host controls such as the ability to admit or deny entry to a meeting, and mute or remove participants, if needed.
- The company does not allow anonymous users (i.e., without a Google Account) to join meetings created by individual accounts.
- Meet meeting codes are complex by default and therefore resilient to brute-force “guessing.”
- Meet video meetings are encrypted in transit, and all recordings stored in Google Drive are encrypted in transit and at rest.
- Google doesn’t require plugins to use Meet on the web. It works entirely in Chrome and other modern browsers, so it’s less vulnerable to security threats.
- On mobile, Google has dedicated Google Meet apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
- Meet users can enroll their account in Google’s Advanced Protection Program—Google's strongest protections available against phishing and account hijacking.
- Google Cloud undergoes regular security and privacy audits for all its services.
- Google says users' Meet data is not used for advertising, and the company doesn't sell users' data to third parties.
Meetings are limited to 60 minutes for the free product, though Google won’t enforce this time limit until after Sept. 30.
Groups within an organization can also use Meet to create video meetings that help coworkers connect one-on-one, collaborate as a team, and more. For organizations that aren’t already G Suite customers, Google announced G Suite Essentials. G Suite Essentials is designed for teams that need access to Meet’s more advanced features, such as dial-in phone numbers, larger meetings, and meeting recording. G Suite Essentials also includes Google Drive for secure access to all of a team’s content, and Docs, Sheets and Slides for content creation and real-time collaboration.
Through Sept. 30, Google is providing G Suite Essentials and all of these features free of charge.
Companies and organizations that use G Suite to power remote productivity already have access to Meet. Admins simply need to enable Meet. Google is providing three ways for new and current enterprise customers to access Meet through Sept. 30:
- Free access to Meet’s advanced features for all G Suite customers, such as the ability to live stream for up to 100,000 viewers within your domain.
- Free additional Meet licenses for existing G Suite customers without any amendments to their current contract.
- Free G Suite Essentials for enterprise customers.
Zoom Video Communications Inc, Microsoft’s Skype and Facebook’s Messenger introduced features this month to attract users as people barred from going out to socialize seek free options to connect with friends and family by online video.
Google also maintains Duo, a video calling app accessible only on smartphones.