Google Meet video conferencing application: a cheat sheet
Video conferencing software continues to act as the glue that binds organizations together in the remote work landscape, with countless platform providers vying for our attention. That includes cloud-advertising giant Google, which offers its Google Meet video conferencing solution to anyone with a Google account.
Still, Google Meet isn’t short on competition, with Microsoft Teams and Zoom also in this space. Zoom in particular presents a significant challenge for Google Meet, having experienced explosive growth since February 2020 and becoming almost synonymous with the concept of video meetings and remote working. Needless to say, this is an image that Google and other rival video conferencing platforms are desperate to shake, as evidenced by a steady stream of new features and improvements.
SEE: How to use Google Meet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
We’ve already looked at how Google Meet compares to Zoom, Teams, Cisco WebEx, and BlueJeans. If you’re looking to learn more about what Meet has to offer and whether it’s a viable video conferencing solution for your business, this guide is here to tell you what you need to know.
What is Google Meet?
Google Meet is an enterprise video conferencing service from Google that supports one-to-one video calls and group video meetings. Google Meet users can chat with other participants, share videos, presentations and slides from their desktop in real time, as well as broadcast live events. Meet also offers chat rooms, polls, Q&As, and whiteboards. Recording is also available on many paid plans.
Google Meet used to be called Google Hangouts Meets, before Google split the app into two different services: Meet for video conferencing and Google Chat for text messaging. Google Meet is Google’s answer to video conferencing and chat apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, which are considered rival services.
Google Meet is available through a web browser at meet.google.com and can also be accessed from Gmail, Google Workspace, and through a mobile app. Google Meet is compatible with Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Linux, Android, and iOS/iPadOS devices.
How to use Google Meet?
As you’d expect from a Google product, the app is extremely simple and user-friendly, especially if your organization already uses Google apps and services.
To use Google Meet, you must first sign in with your Google account. It can also be accessed from Google’s Gmail browser app and through dedicated mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. You can also schedule a Google Meet meeting through the Google Calendar app.
To start a video meeting from Meet, enter https://meet.google.com, then click New Meeting, select a scheduled meeting, or enter a code. Once you have joined a meeting, you can invite other people to join it from the Add People section.
To start a meeting from Gmail, open Gmail in a web browser, select Meet, then select New Meeting, Join Meeting, or Scheduled Meeting. Once you’re in the meeting, you add more people by sharing the meeting code or adding a person by email or phone call from the Add People section.
To schedule a video meeting from Google Calendar, create an event, add guests, and click Add Google Meet video meeting.
Is Google Meet free?
Google Meet is available for free to anyone with a Google account. The free version of Google Meet offers group video meetings with up to 100 participants, with meetings capped at 60 minutes. Paid Google Workspace plans add features as noted:
- business starter ($6 per user per month) extended maximum meeting duration to 24 hours, supports US or international phone numbers, and adds Whiteboard.
- Trade standard ($12 per user per month) includes all features of Starter, supports meetings up to 150 participants, adds noise cancellation, polling and Q&A, raise hands, breakout rooms (as shown in Figure A) and meeting recording rooms.
- Company More ($18 per user per month) includes all features of Business Standard, supports meetings for up to 500 participants, and adds attendance tracking features.
- Company editions (price varies) offer live streaming in the field.
SEE: All of TechRepublic’s cheat sheets and smart person’s guides
Separately, Google One Premium ($9.99 per month) and Google Workspace Individual ($9.99 per month) customers also include access to Google Meet conferencing features that extend conferencing limits and some of the above enhancements. above. Explore the plan details for more details.
Do I need Google Workspace to use Google Meet?
No. Anyone with a Google account, i.e. a Gmail address, can use Google Meet for free. However, only paying customers receive premium features.
Google Workspace is Google’s alternative to Microsoft 365, offering a library of collaboration and productivity tools including Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Keep. Google Workspace is available in Individual, Basic, Business, and Enterprise editions, with additional versions available for specific sectors such as government, healthcare, education and non-profit.
All versions of Workspace include access to Google Meet. You can read more about the different editions in Google Workspace Cheat Sheet: The Complete Guide for 2022.
What other features does Google Meet have?
Google recently added a slew of new features to Google Meet to help people working remotely, as well as to ensure the video conferencing app stays fresh against the competition. It also benefits from some of Google’s AI technologies, which have been added to make meetings easier and more accessible. Useful features include:
- A tiled layout that allows Google Meet web users to see up to 16 participants on screen at once
- The ability to live stream Meet events on YouTube
- The option to present a Chrome tab instead of just presenting an entire window or screen, to provide high quality video with audio
- A low-light mode that adjusts a user’s video to make it more visible to other participants in poor lighting conditions
- Noise canceling to help filter out background noise
- Live captioning and real-time translation during meetings using Google voice recognition technology
What’s the difference between Google Meet, Google Duo and Hangouts?
For a while, Google Meet and Google Duo were separate apps. Google Duo was a video calling app primarily for use with friends and family, while Google Meet was a video conferencing app. In mid-2022, Google announced that Google Duo and Google Meet would eventually converge, with the end result being an app called Google Meet that will offer a robust set of video communication and conferencing features. The current Google Duo app will eventually be renamed Google Meet. Google Hangouts, once a multi-faceted voice, text and video communication app, is no longer available.
Who are the main competitors of Google Meet?
The main competitors of Google’s video conferencing application are Zoom and Microsoft Teams. They each offer somewhat the same basic functionality, but vary in terms of the features and experience they offer, who they cater to, and pricing models.
Zoom supports meetings, chat, phone and more. The free version of the app can accommodate up to 100 participants, with meetings limited to 40 minutes. The Pro version costs $14.99 per month and offers all the features of the free app, automated captions, 3 editable whiteboards with 25MB of cloud storage, plus 5GB of cloud storage for recordings . Above that are the Business, Zoom Phone, Zoom Events, and Zoom Rooms plans, each of which offers various extensive calling, conferencing, and management capabilities.
Microsoft Teams is part of Microsoft’s 365 package. Teams is a core component of Office 365, along with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This means Teams users can share and collaborate on Office documents in real time and automatically save work to the cloud. A free edition of Microsoft Teams is available, which users can sign up for using their email address. The free edition of Teams offers video calls with up to 100 participants, with a meeting duration limited to 60 minutes.
Microsoft Teams Essentials, for $4 per person per month, offers unlimited group meetings for up to 30 hours, with up to 300 participants per meeting and 10 GB of cloud storage per user. Microsoft 365 Business Basic subscriptions start at $6 per user per month and offer recording of team meetings with transcripts, as well as 1TB of storage per user. Above that are other plans and offers that include webinar hosting and business phone system integrations.
How to get the most out of Google Meet?
You can make video conferencing better for everyone, no matter what software you use, by checking out our extensive library of video conferencing and remote working resource guides:
Note: This article was originally written by Owen Hughes. It was updated in August 2022 by Andy Wolber.