Google Makes Premium Video-Conference Solution Free to Tackle COVID-19 Lockdown Challenges

The outside of the Google offices is seen in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., Reuters

Google Cloud will be making Google Meet, its premium video-conferencing solution, free for users and would be rolled out over the coming weeks.

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In a statement, Vice President, G suite, Mr Javier Soltero, said from early May, anyone with an email address could sign up for Meet and enjoy the same features available to G Suite’s business and education users adding that the features included scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to individual preference, including the expanded tiled view.

According to him, Google Meet would offer the polish needed for a work meeting, a tiled view for online birthday party and the security needed for a video call with a doctor noting that Google has invested years in making Meet a secure and reliable video conferencing solution that is trusted by schools, governments and enterprises around the world.

”Google in recent months has accelerated the release of top-requested features to make it even more helpful.Whether it’s hospitals supporting patients via telehealth, banks working with loan applicants, retailers assisting customers remotely, or manufacturers interacting safely with warehouse technicians, businesses across every industry are using Meet to stay connected”, the statement said.

Google Cloud in the said further starting next week, Google will be gradually be expanding Meet’s availability to more and more people over the following weeks while users may not be able to create meetings at meet.google.com right away, they can sign up to be notified when it’s available.

Soltero said that there are a few ways individuals, teams and organisations can use Meet for free saying that for individual users, once the roll out was complete, anyone with an email address would be able to use Meet for free via meet.google.com and the Meet mobile apps for iOS or Android.

He added that Meet could be used to schedule, join or start secure video meetings with anyone – whether it’s a virtual yoga class, weekly book club, neighborhood meeting, or any other reason to connect with others and using the new Meet experience would require a free Google Account, which only took a minute to create, using work or personal email address.

He said the step was required as a security measure, and a user would only needed to sign up once with meetings limited to 60 minutes for the free product, though the time limit would be enforced after September 30.

According to him, for organisations that are already G Suite customers, there is a new edition called G Suite Essentials, which also included Google Drive for easy and secure access to all of a team’s content, and Docs, Sheets and Slides for content creation and real-time collaboration.

The statement said it was perfect for teams that needed access to Meet’s more advanced features, such as dial-in phone numbers, larger meetings and meeting recording, adding that ”Through September 30, we’re providing G Suite Essentials and all of these advanced features free of charge.”

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