With almost everyone working from home, it doesn’t come as a surprise that there’s a boom in video conferencing apps. These apps are helping connect colleagues, family members, and friends together. Zoom is one such video conferencing app that stole the spotlight, soon after lockdowns were implemented. However, tech giants soon took notice and started ramping up their own services, which were somewhat lacking. Now, Google has made its video conferencing app Meet free for everyone.
Everyone can now use Google Meet for free!
For the longest time, Google offered Hangouts as a chat and video calling solution for everyone. Hangouts is available with multiple Google’s services and is free to use for standard users. For enterprise and educational use, the search giant offered Hangouts Meet, which was recently rebranded to Google Meet. Now, it seems like in a bid to overtake Zoom and other similar services by companies like Facebook and Microsoft Google has made Google Meet free for everyone.
With the announcement, one now gets unrestricted access to Google Meet functionalities. Previously, only G Suite members were able to host meetings while standard Google users could simply join them with an invitation. Now, anyone can create free meetings for up to 100 people, which will not be time-restricted.
Should Zoom, Microsoft and Facebook be wary?
Google’s announcement of making Google Meet free for everyone barely comes as a surprise. As per the market research firm Sensor Tower, Zoom is nearing 300 million daily active users, which is quite remarkable since the app saw about 10 million users back in December 2019. In a similar fashion, Google Meet soon touched 100 million daily active users, but it was restricted to G Suite consumers. Opening it to everyone with a Google account will only drive up the daily active user count.
Zoom is currently battling privacy issues, along with “zoombombing” cases. There have been multiple reports of unknown people crashing hosted Zoom meetings and hurling abuses or streaming pornography. Despite such cases, Zoom’s ease of use and simplistic features make it a hit amongst users. With Google upping the ante, it remains to be seen how Zoom retaliates.
Facebook is also trying to get into the videoconferencing game. It recently announced the new Messenger Rooms video chat app, which is available for all Facebook users. The service offers features similar to other apps like Zoom and Houseparty. However, it remains to be seen whether or not it will be a hit with users. Finally, Microsoft offers Teams as its video conferencing solution. One needs an Office 365 subscription to get unrestricted access to the app. However, there’s a freemium version available, which supports up to 300 participants, unlimited chat messaging, and search.
With Google crashing the party, we can expect rivals buckling up and ramping up their respective services. Currently, it’s everyone’s playing field but with people already used to different video conferencing apps, we can only wait and watch to see how it will all turn out.
Image credits: Google
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