Google Meet - Overview

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4 steps to setting up Google's video chat app, free (Click for CNET Article)

Google's Meet video conferencing service is a Zoom competitor, and is now free for everyone to use for personal video chats.

Google is making more moves into the video chatting space during the coronavirus pandemic, now providing its premium video conferencing service Google Meet free for consumers. Previously available only to organizations using G Suite, Meet is now open to everyone, in a move that puts Google in competition with rival video chat service Zoom.

While Google Hangouts and Duo were previously available for casual video chatting, Meet allows up to 100 participants on a call at once, and includes features such as scheduling, screen sharing and real-time captioning.

The free version of Google Meet requires you to create a free Google account. Video calls will have a 60-minute cap, but Google said it won't enforce that cap until after Sept. 30.

Google also laid out a number of default privacy protections in place with Meet, including host controls (like the ability to admit or deny entry to a meeting, and mute or remove participants), complex meeting codes and encryption in transit. This seems to be taking aim at Zoom, which saw a massive surge in users after the coronavirus lockdowns and quarantines started -- but has recently faced a number of security issues, including uninvited guests "Zoombombing" meetings.

Google is far from the only tech company looking to scoop up some of Zoom's business -- Facebook, Skype and Microsoft have all recently released new free group video chat features and services.

Meet started rolling out its free version earlier this month. You'll be able to use the video chat service on the web at meet.google.com and on mobile apps for iOS or Android.


How to start a video meeting

Create a new meeting

To create a new video meeting, log in to your existing Google Account or sign up for free.

Invite others to your online meeting

Send a link or meeting code to anyone you want to join the meeting. For the free version of Google Meet, guests will need to create or sign in to an existing Google Account to join.

Join a meeting

Tap the meeting link from the invite, enter the meeting code from your host here, or call into the meeting using the dial-in number and PIN in the invite.