Google’s answer to Zoom, Meet, is now open to anyone and supports free meetings of up to one hundred people, time no bar.
Evidently even Google is feeling the chills of Zoom’s sudden fame (or infamy depending on how you look at it). Once exclusive to subscribers of Google‘s line of enterprise apps, G Suite, Google is going out of its way to switch off its paid service to embrace the gold rush of offering video conferencing services.
Although, after September 30th, Zoom won’t be free for meetings that last longer than 60 minutes.
There’s a catch (or two) here though.
Users will have to log into their Google account to attend the meeting – they won’t be able to freely join the meeting by simply clicking on the link. It’s a safety measure that gives hosts more control over their meetings.
For instance, people who haven’t been explicitly added to a meeting through a calendar invite will be required to enter into a green room, where the hosts will have to manually accept any invitation from unexpected participants.
In addition, the free version of Meet won’t allow you to dial-in to participate in a meeting.
After all, with the frequency and showboating from Zoom-Bombers, who can blame Google. “[Meet] was designed from the onset to be secure. We haven’t had to really make changes to the product to become more secure,” said Smita Hashim, the director of product management for Google Meet in a statement.
Google is hoping to impose these safety-focused caveats to gain greater appeal and take away market share from Zoom, whose phenomenal rise after the coronavirus lockdown has left Google and Microsoft – owner of Skype (remember them?) – in an awkward spot. In a bid to pick up on lost opportunities, Meet will be accessible from Gmail, while Mcirosoft is continuing to bank on its Office dominance to drive users to its B2B video conferencing app, Teams.
But with the sudden limelight, Zoom has been under a microscope that’s exposed a litany of security problems – which Google is hoping to take advantage of.
While Zoom might have captured the coronavirus zeitgeist, Microsoft and Google are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the underdog doesn’t further pull the carpet from under them and take control of the market.