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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Google Meet gets even better.

Google is opening up its Google Meet videoconferencing service to anybody who wants to use it, instead of just offering it to enterprise and education customers via G Suite. The company says anybody with a Google account will now be able to create free meetings of up to 100 people that can last any amount of time — though after September 30th it may restrict meeting length to 60 minutes.
Google Meet is Now Free For All Users

That Google account requirement is a hard one, however. People won’t be able to just click a link and join a meeting — they’ll need to be logged in. That is so meetings can be better controlled by their hosts. Google will also introduce other safety measures: people not explicitly added to a meeting via a calendar invite will be automatically entered into a green room when they try to join a meeting, and only be let in when approved by the host. The free version will also not offer landline dial-in numbers for meetings.
Google has trust problems of its own when it comes to conferencing and messaging products. Google Meet only became “Google Meet” earlier this month — before that the service was called Hangouts Meet. That’s a legacy of the fractured and convoluted history of Google’s messaging and video apps the company is still trying to escape
Alongside the consumer availability for Meet, Google is unveiling a new tier for G Suite that it’s calling “G Suite Essentials,” which includes Meet and also Google Drive, but not Gmail. All current G Suite customers will still have free access to Meet through September 30th.
Lastly, Meet is also getting integrated into Gmail — both G Suite versions and regular consumer Gmail addresses. In the same way that Microsoft has leveraged its Office dominance to drive people to Teams, Google is fully utilizing Gmail’s power to push its integrated video conferencing app.

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