Google has announced it is making its Google Meet enterprise video conferencing service free to use for anyone from today until 30 September. The business-focussed service once called Google Hangouts Meet has recently rebranded in an attempt to take customers from market leader Zoom.
The announcement from Google is a little confusing to say the least. This is unsurprising given Google’s horribly messy product and strategy when it comes to messaging services.
Basically, Google Meet is a business video conferencing app that is not usually free. Google is announcing that firstly, any individual can now sign up to Meet for free and use it for free but with restrictions on call time and features.
It is those restrictions that are lifted until 30 September, after which the full service will then only be available again to paying customers.
Until now, Google Meet’s video platform was only available to businesses who signed up to and paid for a G Suite account. Meet’s new setup lets any individual sign up for an account and use it to for video calling via its website or its Android and iOS apps.
Calls are normally limited to 60 minutes for the free tier but will be unlimited until the 30 September.
Google also said that from early May anyone with an email address, not just a Gmail account, can sign up to Meet, though they’ll have to create a Google account.
Google is pushing the secure nature of Meet, with host controls, complex meeting codes to stop video bombing, encrypted video and more. While Zoom remains incredibly popular, it has come under heavy scrutiny for the potentially insecure nature of its product – something Google is looking to rise above.
Google has been unfathomably bad at creating a cohesive message around its messaging apps and services. By all accounts, Hangouts should have turned into an iMessage-style Android texting app but it has now been all but retired as Google pivots to business use for its new Google Meet branding.
Google Allo was closed down, and Google Duo is still the company’s consumer video calling service that allows up to 12 participants for free.