Google Cloud today announced it’s making Google Meet, Google’s premium video-conferencing solution, free for everyone, everywhere, assuring that availability will roll out over the coming weeks.
Starting in early May, anyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and enjoy many of the same features available to G Suite’s business and education users.
These include features like scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to your preference, including the expanded tiled view.
“With the lines blurred between work and home, Google Meet can offer the polish needed for a work meeting, a tiled view for your online birthday party and the security needed for a video call with your doctor,” says Javier Soltero, VP of G Suite.
Google has invested years in making Meet a secure and reliable video conferencing solution that’s trusted by schools, governments and enterprises around the world, and in recent months has accelerated the release of top-requested features to make it even more helpful.
Whether it’s hospitals supporting patients via telehealth, banks working with loan applicants, retailers assisting customers remotely, or manufacturers interacting safely with warehouse technicians, businesses across every industry are using Meet to stay connected.
Starting next week, Google will be gradually expanding Meet’s availability to more and more people over the following weeks.
There are a few ways individuals, teams and organisations can use Meet for free.
Individual users: Once the rollout is complete, anyone with an email address will be able to use Meet for free via meet.google.com and the Meet mobile apps for iOS or Android to schedule, join or start secure video meetings with anyone—whether it’s a virtual yoga class, weekly book club, neighbourhood meeting, or any other reason to connect with others.
Using the new Meet experience will require a free Google Account, which only takes a minute to create using your work or personal email address of choice. This step is required as a security measure, and you only need to sign up once. Meetings are limited to 60 minutes for the free product, though Google will not enforce this time limit until after September 30.
Teams that are not G Suite customers: For organizations that aren’t already G Suite customers, today Google is announcing a new edition called G Suite Essentials, which also includes Google Drive for easy and secure access to all of a team’s content, and Docs, Sheets and Slides for content creation and real-time collaboration.
It’s perfect for teams that need access to Meet’s more advanced features, such as dial-in phone numbers, larger meetings and meeting recording. Through Sept. 30, Google is providing G Suite Essentials and all of these advanced features free of charge.
Existing G Suite customers: G Suite’s 6 million existing customers already have access to Meet. Admins simply need to enable Meet by following instructions outlined on the Help Centre. G Suite is also providing three ways for new and current enterprise customers to access Meet through September 30 including free access to Meet’s advanced features for all G Suite customers, free additional Meet licenses for existing G Suite customers without any amendments to their current contract, and free G Suite Essentials for new enterprise customers.
Schools and higher education institutions: Meet is included in G Suite for Education, a suite of free Google apps tailored specifically for schools, which serves over 120 million students and teachers globally for high-quality virtual classes, PTA meetings, parent-teacher conferences, tutoring, and even school socials.
“As digital communication has become a vital part of everyone’s lives, there is an increased demand for video-conferencing solutions that provide security and reliability together with popular features like tiled view,” says Jim Lundy, CEO, Lead Analyst at Aragon Research.
“We’re seeing enterprises and consumers alike choose Google Meet for its ability to securely support a high volume of users, while still providing robust functionality. Combined with its integration with widely used G Suite tools like Gmail and Calendar, users see Meet as a compelling video communications solution.”