By: Courtney Rose
At this point in the year you could likely name many conferencing apps, such as Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams. Did you know that Google also has their own free video conferencing service? They were a little late to the game with sprucing up their existing video conferencing service, but as of early May, they released Google Meet.
Previously, Google Meet was only available for users that were using G Suite; the intended target for G Suite is businesses, organizations and schools. G Suite is paid on a per user basis. Google Meet is now free to the general public and can support up to 100 participants for 60 minutes (but the time limit is not being enforced until September 30th, so right now it’s unlimited), and the organizer controls the event and can approve, mute and remove participants. There’s nothing to download when using Google Meet, you can use the service directly in a browser tab. You can start a meeting directly from your calendar, both Google & Outlook. Google also provides transport encryption, which is a very high level of security.
One of the cool features on the free account is the option to have live captions during video conferencing. This could be useful if you don’t have sound or happen to be someplace too noisy to hear the meeting.
The paid version of Google Meet (in GSuite) allows some cool features too, you can turn on noise cancelling, and it will filter out background noise like typing, doors closing, and nearby construction. It doesn’t filter out voice noises, so if you have the television on in the background, or noisy kids, those sounds won’t be filtered out. The GSuite version also allows participants to dial in by phone.
I’ve been using Google Hangouts to do video calling with my extended family and it wasn’t perfect, but it did cover the basics. I look forward to trying Google Meet and all the new features. It’ll definitely be my go to recommendation for anyone looking for a free, and secure, conferencing service.