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Google is aware that technology brings people together in these times of lockdown or working from home. The company has decided to make Google Meet Premium, its high-end videoconferencing solution, free from May (originally, the tool is available for Gsuite customers only) and with no usage limit until September 30, 2020.

Faced with the success of quality solutions like Zoom, Jitsi Meet, Google Hangouts (“low cost” and limited version of Google Meet), Microsoft Teams, Skype and others, Google had to react by offering Google Meet Premium free completely until September 30 (and limited to one hour of free conversation after that date). It is also rather a strong sign sent to the competition like Facebook Messenger Rooms which has just come out with free video conferences for up to 50 people (and without a mandatory Facebook account …). The deployment will be done from the beginning of May and will be spread over several weeks, it is therefore advisable to register to receive a notification when the tool will be available.

Here are some of the benefits of Google Meet:

  • Creating conferences for up to 250 users simultaneously (and up to nearly 100,000 live viewers).
  • Displaying a mosaic showing up to 16 people at a time.
  • The ability to share a meeting in Google Calendar to join without having to search for meeting codes, etc.
  • The choice of support to follow a conference (computer, telephone, Tablets …), or even to call a number to join the conference without a mobile app (which Jitsi Meet does very well for free for example).
  • The ability to share live video on YouTube.
  • Launching video conferencing directly from Gmail.
  • Using the solution without having to install browser extensions.

At the same time, Google has developed G suite Essentials which in particular makes it possible to link Google Meet to Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets (…) easily for teamwork. This solution will also be free until September 30, before becoming again limited to G suite users. Recall that so far, Google had made Google Meet free only for G suite users, so it’s a big step forward, certainly due in part to the growing market share of tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams …

Admittedly, the full freeware of Google Meet Premium will only last until September 30, but it is already an interesting first step during this complicated period, which will also allow to leave a little bandwidth for each tool. Indeed, video conferencing solutions like Zoom or Jitsi Meet start to be overloaded and this quickly affects performance when many people connect at the same time. For small groups, all the solutions follow rather well, and Google Hangouts even does the job very well in this case, but as soon as we exceed the dozen or twenty people connected at the same time, the result is less convincing. In this sense, solutions like Facebook Rooms or Google Meet Premium, in addition to the others already mentioned, are really much better …

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