Just as promised, Google Meet has become free for everyone with a Google account to use. What this means is the excellent service that has been available to G Suite customers and was formerly known as Hangouts Meet is now open to all Google users with or without a paid account. With this free service comes Google Calendar and Gmail integrations that users can now leverage to set up and share meetings to others.
In light of the world-wide pandemic, video chatting has become one of the central ways we communicate. Having solid, simple, and accessible ways to accomplish this are top of mind for everyone right now, and this is likely why we saw Zoom take off so quickly. In nearly every way at this point, Google Meet is just as simple to set up and access and is more secure and, in my opinion, of a bit higher quality.
To start a Google Meet, someone in the group will still have to have a Google account, but most people have that already. After the Meet is set up and the URL is shared, the meeting can take place 100% in a browser without the need of any downloads or extensions. And it works extremely well with multiple view choices and built-in chat capability. Because you can join meetings with or without an account, users can simply share the meeting link and allow access or send out invites to others with Google accounts. Those who are invited via account won’t need explicit access to join.
We’re also now seeing Meet integrated into both Gmail and Calendar, so it will be even easier for new users to give it a try. As you can see in the pics above, there are now dedicated places for users who wouldn’t otherwise know Google Meet exists to be prompted to give it a go. Google choosing to leverage its massive Gmail and Google Calendar user bases here mean we’ll likely see Google Meet usage skyrocket.
I still think Duo is the right app for quick calls or for a few people to video chat on a whim, but if you are needing to host a multi-person meeting, get it on a calendar, and have it scheduled and planned, there are few tools better that Google Meet right now to get it done. If you haven’t tried it out, I highly encourage you to open up Gmail in the browser, start a meeting, and see what it is you’ve been missing.