Google Makes Google Meet Free, Reiterates Its Focus on Security
by Jim Lundy
Google is not standing still. Google Meet (formerly known as Google Hangouts Meet) has been updated a lot over the last year. However, this week Google went much further and made Meet free—for a while.
Google Makes Hangouts Free—Until September
Google is democratizing Meet, which is now free for all registered account holders, including free Gmail accounts, until September. This is an overdue move but one that will be well-received by all, particularly existing Google users, many of whom were using the Zoom online meeting solution. While Zoom may have a higher daily user count, it is important to point out that Google G Suite has close to 15 times more users than Zoom does. However, the primary G Suite use case is email, not meetings. That is changing. Google said that 3 million more people a day are now using Google Meet. Now people can go to meet.google.com to sign up and launch a meeting.
Google Meet Is Unbundled
Google just made Google Meet a standalone offering. Though it also continues to be bundled with G Suite. Google has been improving the quality and reliability of Meet for over a year. We have Meet here at Aragon (along with many other collaboration products), and the improvements to the product have been noticed by many of our associates.
Meet will be bundled with a new offering that Google calls Essentials, which includes Meet, Drive, and the Google Editors. Google Essentials is also free for an extended period of time. Google did not announce pricing for Essentials yet.
Google Meet Enhanced Experience—Good for Customer Meetings
The big news on Meet is that Google made it more video-centric by incorporating gallery views that support up to 16 people. In a remote work environment, the gallery view makes people feel more engaged. Video quality has also gone up, and the overall experience is very good. We would say it is good enough now for external customer meetings.
Google Doubles Down on Security
Google G Suite has always made internet security an important priority for paid users. It has clarified that it does offer encryption in transit for all Meet sessions. It also encrypts all meeting recordings. It is also important to point out that Google has its own private network (see a map of all the Google data centers). Additionally, Google reiterated that its meeting IDs are hard to duplicate or guess. Finally, Google offers its own Advanced Protection Program, which includes its Titan Security Keys.
Bottom Line—Google Ups Its Game
Google G Suite is innovating faster. Much of this is due to its new general manager, Javier Soltero, who joined Google recently from Microsoft. There is much more coming from Google in collaboration, and these new offerings are sure to be well-received as it moves forward.