In welcome news for those in the MICE industry, Google’s premium video conferencing product is now free to use.
Anyone with an email address can sign up for Google Meet and enjoy many of the same features available to premium users – business and education users – including simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to your preference.
One of the big bonuses of using Meet is that each conference comes encrypted, meaning all meetings are secure, and hosts have the ultimate say in who is admitted, denied, muted or removed from calls.
Moreover, anonymous users – those without a Google account – cannot join meetings created by individual accounts. The product is also available on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Until now, Google Meet has only been available through G Suite, the tech player’s collaboration and productivity solution for businesses, organisations and schools that is used by six million companies worldwide.
However, the shift to free-to-use is proving an absolute boon for Google.
Since announcing the product would be made free, Google Meet is bringing in three million new users every day, with around 100 million video meeting participants and approximately two billion minutes of video daily, according to the tech giant.
“Technology that connects us while we’re apart helps keep us safe and productive,” G Suite vice president and general manager Javier Soltero wrote in a recent blog post.
“Over the past few months, we’ve seen the power of video meetings bring us together – whether we’re working with teammates, talking to healthcare professionals, sharing with loved ones, or learning from home.
“Today, we’re making Google Meet, our premium video conferencing product, free for everyone, with availability rolling out over the coming weeks.”
Soltero said groups within an organisation can also use Meet to create video meetings that help coworkers connect one-on-one, collaborate as a team and more.
“For organisations that aren’t already G Suite customers, today we’re announcing G Suite Essentials,” he said.
“G Suite Essentials is perfect for teams that need access to Meet’s more advanced features, such as dial-in phone numbers, larger meetings, and meeting recording.
“G Suite Essentials 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. “
Through to 30 September, Google is also providing G Suite Essentials and all of these advanced features free of charge.
Additionally, Meet now has an expanded tiled layout option, which can display as many as 16 meeting attendees at once, according to Forbes. Before this update, users were limited to seeing four people at a time.