Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Google Meet is now free for all users

As the use of videoconferencing tools surges amidst the global lockdown, Google Meet, which is taking on Zoom head-on, has announced that its free rollout is complete.

Announcing this Sundar Pichai, CEO Google and Alphabet, said "We've re-engineered Google Meet to make secure video meetings free for everyone, with helpful features powered by #GoogleAI like live captions and low-light mode, available now at http://meet.google.com".

The video conferencing tool, originally conceived for the business meeting with G Suite account,  is now accessible to anyone at meet.google.com or on iOS or Android. 

Earlier this year, Google offered Meet's advanced features free for G Suite users and since then has seen daily usage grow by 30X, adding about 3 million new users a day last month. 

"Since making Meet's advanced features free for all G Suite and G Suite for Education users in March, we've seen daily usage grow by 30x, with Meet hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings daily. Last month, we were adding roughly 3 million new users every day. That's why we're expanding the offering to more people around the world," said Javier Soltero Vice President & GM, G Suite, in a blog.

"Now that the rollout we announced two weeks ago is complete, anyone with an email address can sign up and get started at meet.google.com, for free. And to make meetings even more accessible and helpful, in the coming days you’ll also be able to use Meet directly in Gmail," he added.

Ramping up features

Apart from opening up access to the tool, Google has sought to make the most of the current situation by improving support for Meet, adding new features and making it directly accessible from gmail. 

The expanded tiled layout option now lets web users see up to 16 call participants at once, as opposed to just four. To share higher-quality video content with other callers, users can now choose to present a Chrome tab rather than just presenting their window or the entire screen. 

Other companies along with Google are seeking to capitalize on the current situation by rolling out new video tools. Late last month, Facebook announced a series of new video products, including Messenger Rooms -- a consumer-focused video conferencing tool.

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