Google Cloud just announced making Google Meet, Google’s premium video-conferencing solution, free for everyone in the coming weeks. Starting in early May, anyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and enjoy many of the same features available to G Suite’s business and education users, such as simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to your preference, including the expanded tiled view.
“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, VP 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 has invested years in making Meet a secure and reliable video conferencing solution that’s trusted by schools, governments and enterprises around the world, and in recent months has accelerated the release of top-requested features to make it even more helpful. Whether it’s hospitals supporting patients via telehealth, banks working with loan applicants, retailers assisting customers remotely, or manufacturers interacting safely with warehouse technicians, businesses across every industry are using Meet to stay connected.
Starting next week, Google will be gradually expanding Meet’s availability to more and more people over the following weeks. While users might not be able to create meetings at meet.google.com right away, they can sign up to be notified when it’s available.
Meet is designed, built and operated to be secure at scale. Since January, Meet’s peak daily usage grew by 30x and is hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding roughly 3 million new users every day as of this month, surpassing 100 million meeting participants daily. With this growth comes great responsibility. Privacy and security are paramount, no matter if it’s a doctor sharing confidential health information with a patient, a financial advisor hosting a client meeting, or people virtually connecting with each other for graduations, holidays, and happy hours. Hence, Google made its product safe by default, including safety measures like the following:
- 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.
- Np anonymous users (i.e., without a Google Account) are allowed 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.
- We don’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 Meet apps are in the Apple App Store and Google PlayStore.
- Meet users can enroll their account in Google’s Advanced Protection Program— the company’s strongest protections available against phishing and account hijacking.
- Google Cloud undergoes regular rigorous security and privacy audits for all its services: global compliance certifications can help support regulatory requirements such as GDPR and HIPAA, as well as COPPA and FERPA for education.
- Meet data is not used for advertising and won’t be sold to third parties.
- Google operate a highly secure and resilient private network that ensures your data stays safe.
- You can learn more about how Meet keeps your video meetings safe in this post.
There are a few ways individuals, teams and organizations can use Meet for free.
- Individual users: Once the roll out is complete, anyone with an email address will be able to use Meet for free via meet.google.com and the Meet mobile apps for iOS or Android to schedule, join or start secure video meetings with anyone—whether it’s a virtual yoga class, weekly book club, neighborhood meeting, or any other reason to connect with others. Using the new Meet experience will require a free Google Account, which only takes a minute to create using your work or personal email address of choice. This step is required as a security measure, and you only need to sign up once. Meetings are limited to 60 minutes for the free product, though Google will not enforce this time limit until after September 30.
- Teams that are not G Suite customers: For organizations that aren’t already G Suite customers, Google provides the new edition called G Suite Essentials, which also includes Google Drive for easy and secure access to all of a team’s content, and Docs, Sheets and Slides for content creation and real-time collaboration. It’s perfect for teams that need access to Meet’s more advanced features, such as dial-in phone numbers, larger meetings and meeting recording.
- Existing G Suite customers: G Suite’s 6 million existing customers already have access to Meet. Admins simply need to enable Meet by following instructions outlined on Google's Help Center. G Suite is also providing three ways for new and current enterprise customers to access Meet through September 30 including: free access to Meet’s advanced features for all G Suite customers, free additional Meet licenses for existing G Suite customers without any amendments to their current contract, and free G Suite Essentials for new enterprise customers.
- Schools and higher education institutions: Meet is included in G Suite for Education, a suite of free Google apps tailored specifically for schools. (Source: Google)