Google is making more moves into the video chatting space during the coronavirus pandemic, now providing its premium video conferencing service Google Meet free for consumers. Previously available only to organizations using G Suite, Meet is now open to everyone, in a move that puts Google in competition with rival video chat service Zoom.
While Google Hangouts and Duo were previously available for casual video chatting, Meet allows up to 100 participants on a call at once, and includes features such as scheduling, screen sharing and real-time captioning.
The free version of Google Meet requires you to create a free Google account. Video calls will have a 60-minute cap, but Google said it won’t enforce that cap until after Sept. 30.
Google also laid out a number of default privacy protections in place with Meet, including host controls (like the ability to admit or deny entry to a meeting, and mute or remove participants), complex meeting codes and encryption in transit. This seems to be taking aim at Zoom , which saw a massive surge in users after the coronavirus lockdowns and quarantines started — but has recently faced a number of security issues, including uninvited guests “Zoombombing” meetings.
How to use Google Meet, free
To sign up for the free version of Google Meet, go to the Google Meet page. Enter your name, email, country and primary use for Google Meet (personal, business, education or government). Agree to Google’s terms of service, and hit Submit.
Once you sign up, here’s how to use the free version of Google Meet:
1. Go to meet.google.com (or, open the app on iOS or Android, or start a meeting from Google Calendar ).
2. Click Start new meeting, or enter your meeting code.
3. Choose the Google account you want to use.
4. Click Join meeting. You’ll have the ability to add others to your meeting, too.
And that’s it! Happy video chatting.
For more help on your video chats, check out how to make video meetings less weird, tips for how to use Zoom like a pro, how to look and sound great online with your webcam and how to turn your phone into a webcam.