Google has announced that Google Meets, their Zoom competitor, is now free to all.
The service was previously only for Google Suite enterprise users, but now offers unlimited calls for up to 100 participants to everyone with a Google account.
Free unlimited calls may be limited to 60 minutes after September 30th when Google plans to review this.
Unfortunately, the service does not allow joining a call without a Google account – a requirement which Google says should reduce misuse and trolling.
Google has integrated Google Meet into Gmail, which should however make it easy for family, friends and co-workers to join a call via email.
Google has recently updated Meet with the following features:
- Tiled layout for larger calls: The expanded tiled layout now lets web users simultaneously see up to 16 participants at once (previously, tiled layouts only enabled you to see four people at a time). Google promises even more updates are coming for larger meetings, better presentation layouts, and support across more devices.
- Present higher-quality video content with audio: Users now have the option to present a Chrome tab (instead of just presenting their window or entire screen). If you need to share high-quality video with audio content in meetings, select this option for the best experience for remote viewers. The “present a Chrome tab” feature is rolling out to general availability as of today.
- Low-light mode: Meet can now use AI to automatically adjust your video to make you more visible to other participants in sub-optimal lighting conditions. This feature is currently rolling out to mobile users, and will be available to web users in the future.
- Noise cancellation: To help limit interruptions to your meeting, Meet can now intelligently filter out background distractions—like your dog barking or keystrokes as you take meeting notes. Noise cancellation will begin rolling out in the coming weeks to G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education customers starting with web users and later to mobile users.
Google says Meet uses the same protections that Google uses to secure user data and safeguard privacy. Meet’s anti-abuse features are turned on by default, video meetings are encrypted in transit by default and their compliance certifications can help support regulatory requirements. Google is also adding new moderator controls to help educators more effectively manage their meetings and protect their students.
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