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Watch out, Zoom: Google Meet is now free for everyone

Published May 6th, 2020 5:32PM EDT
Google Meet Free
Image: Google

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  • Google Meet, Google’s rival to Zoom, went live for everyone this week.
  • Google in recent weeks revamped its video conferencing software and added new features so as to better compete with Zoom.
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With the coronavirus leaving millions of people across the world stuck at home, video conferencing quickly emerged as a popular way for folks to keep in touch with friends and family. Before long, people started using video conferencing software for all sorts of different activities, including playing virtual games and hosting comedy shows.

As the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe in March, Zoom seemingly came out of nowhere and quickly established itself as the de facto video chat software of choice. And if we’re being honest, it was well-deserved. Though Zoom admittedly had its fair share of security issues early on, the company’s software was more seamless than rival offerings. As a result, Google rushed back to the drawing board to bolster its own video conferencing software known as Google Meet.

Google Meet initially debuted as an enterprise-only video conferencing solution before Google announced its plan to make the premium version of Google Meet free for all users. What’s more, Google Meet in recent weeks started incorporating a few of Zoom’s more popular features, such as support for 16 people in a tiled view as opposed to 4. Zoom, though, still allows hundreds of viewers to appear on the screen at once.

All that said, Google Meet finally started rolling out to all Google users today. If you’re not a fan of Zoom for any reason, you’ll definitely want to give Google Meet a try.

You can check it out by going to whereupon you can start your own meeting or enter an existing meeting via a code given to you by the meeting host. And similar to zoom, the meeting host has the ability to accept or deny meeting requests as they see fit. One popular Zoom feature that hasn’t made its way over to Google Meet just yet is the option to select from a variety of virtual backgrounds.

Now whether or not Google Meet manages to gain some traction is anybody’s guess. Truth be told, Google’s chat offerings have always been convoluted and a bit confusing. Even today, Google has three video conferencing solutions users can choose from. Aside from Google Meet, there’s Hangouts and Google Duo. Further, with so many people already on Zoom, and with the company openly addressing previously raised security concerns, it’s hard to imagine Zoom ceding ground to Google anytime soon.

Still, it’s nice that Zoom has some legit competition to contend with, a dynamic which should only make both Zoom and Google Meet better products in the long run.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.