Several popular videoconferencing providers already make at least a version of their product free, and now Google is doing the same by making Google Meet free for everyone.
Starting today, Google Meet, G Suite’s flagship video chat app, will be free for everyone with availability rolling out over the coming weeks, G Suite vice president and general manager Javier Soltero wrote in a blog post.
Previously, Meet was only available as part of G Suite for businesses, organizations and schools.
Like some of its other competitors, meetings on the free version are capped, with a time limit of an hour. However, Google won’t enforce that time limit until after September, ostensibly because of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
Groups within any organization that aren’t already G Suite customers can also use Meet to connect one-on-one or collaborate as a team via G Suite Essentials, a new offering for teams that need access to advanced features like dial-in phone numbers, larger meetings and meeting recording. It also icnldues Google Drive. That offering is also free through the end of September.
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Organizations with an existing G Suite account already have access to Meet and admins just need to enable it by following these instructions. Through Sept. 30, organizations will have free access to Meet’s advanced features, free additional licenses and free G Suite Essentials for enterprise customers.
For G Suite for Education users, Meet is already included and may only need to be enabled by IT admins.
“We’ve 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 we’ve accelerated the release of top-requested features to make it even more helpful,” Soltero said.
Some of those features include a tiled layout for larger calls, a feature that other providers like Zoom already offered, audio and video sharing, noise cancellation and other improvements.
According to Soltero, anyone with an email address can sign up for meet beginning early next month.
Google Meet, like other communication and collaboration platforms, has exploded in popularity over the last few weeks and months due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Since January, Meet’s peak daily usage as grown 30 times and the platform adds about 3 million new users every day. Last week, the platform surpassed 100 daily meeting participants.