With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, video calling applications became a lifeline, of sorts, to people. The number of downloads of such apps, like Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, and so on, from Google Playstore, has seen a steep increase. As such, the companies behind these applications felt it necessary to limit the time of the meetings for non-paid users. This action would allow for a larger number of people buying a subscription to the app, thus, allowing the growth of the enterprise.
Formerly known as Hangouts Meet, Google Meet offers video communication services to its users. Google developed the application and released it in March 2017. Google Meet, in addition to Google Chat, replaced Google Hangouts. At the time of its initial distribution, Google featured the communication software as a video conferencing app, allowing up to 30 participants. Google described it as an enterprise-friendly replacement of Hangouts. Users can operate it on the Android, iOS as well as the web platforms.
Features: Google Meet
The application includes specific features for the G Suite users. Such elements comprise:
- G Suite Basic users can incorporate up to 100 members per call. The number reaches up to 150 for G Suite Business users, and up to 250 people for G Suite Enterprise users.
- The users can join meetings either from the web or through the Android or even utilising the iOS app.
- The users can call into meetings using a dial-in number.
- G Suite Enterprise edition users have the bonus attribute of password-protected dial-in numbers.
- The users can integrate single click meeting invites with the Google Calendar.
- The users possess the ability of screen-sharing that enables them to present documents, presentations, spreadsheets and many more.
- All calls between all users remain encrypted.
- Based on the aspect of speech recognition, users can apply real-time closed captioning.
- Limitations exist for free users that states that all participants must possess a Google account.
Changes: Google Meet
Google Meet has announced that the free versions of all Meet will be limited to an hour, after September 30. This modification is pertinent only to non-paid users. A spokesperson from Google informed The Verge via an email, “We don’t have anything to communicate regarding changes to the promo and advanced features expiring. If this changes, we’ll be sure to let you know.” This change is also applicable to the access of advanced features for G Suite and G Suite Education customers. The changes are valid to characteristics of meetings up to 250 participants as well as the facility of saving meeting recordings to Google Drive. Additionally, live-streams, including a maximum of 1,00,000 members within one single domain, are subject to these variables.
— News15 India (@news15_india) September 27, 2020
The initial plan users could avail allowed free meetings for up to 100 participants with no time limit. All participants owning a Google account was the only criteria. With the advent of the pandemic, video communication platforms like Google Meet tried to match to the dramatic increase of Zoom, with almost 300 million daily users. Meet passed the benchmark of 100 million users daily, in April 2020. The enterprise, then, made all meetings free without time restraints. Nevertheless, Google had declared that such privileges would be viable only till September 30, 2020.
Impact of the Change: Google Meet
For ordinary users like students and family members, the change serves to be of no significant importance. However, businesses that employ the platform daily must now pay to avail its services. Compared to a 45 minutes free Zoom meeting, Meet offers a better plan for an open conference of 60 minutes. Nevertheless, for enterprises, it becomes difficult to wrap up meetings within such short stipulated time. Thus, we can expect that the companies and enterprises will be the primary paid users of Google Meet.
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