Internet giant Google announced on Wednesday, April 29, that it is making Google Meet, its premium video-conferencing solution free for everyone with availability rolling out over the coming weeks.
Starting in early May, anyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and enjoy the same features available to G Suite’s business and education users such as simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to personal preference, including the expanded tiled view.
“With the lines blurred between work and home, Google Meet can offer the polish needed for a work meeting, a tiled view for your online birthday party and the security needed for a video call with your doctor,” said Javier Soltero, VP of G Suite.
“We’re in the middle of a significant worldwide shift impacting communication from the workplace to schools to the home. People want familiar, secure tools that they can use across all facets of their lives.”
Google said Meet’s peak daily usage has grown by 30x since January. As of March, Meet is hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding roughly 3 million new users every day. And as of last week, Meet’s daily meeting participants surpassed 100 million, according to Google.
“With this growth comes great responsibility. Privacy and security are paramount, no matter if it’s a doctor sharing confidential health information with a patient, a financial advisor hosting a client meeting, or people virtually connecting with each other for graduations, holidays, and happy hours,” the company said.
“Our approach to security is simple: make products safe by default. We designed Meet to operate on a secure foundation, providing the protections needed to keep our users safe, their data secure, and their information private,” it added.
Once the roll out is complete, anyone with an email address will be able to use Meet for free via meet.google.com and the Meet mobile apps for iOS or Android to schedule, join or start secure video meetings with anyone.
Using the new Meet experience will require a free Google Account. This step is required as a security measure, and users only need to sign up once. Meetings are limited to 60 minutes for the free product, though this time limit will not be enforced until after September 30.
For schools and higher education institutions, Meet is included in G Suite for Education, a suite of free Google apps tailored specifically for schools, which serves over 120 million students and teachers globally for virtual classes, PTA meetings, parent-teacher conferences, tutoring, and even school socials.