The newly renamed Google Meet video calling is hoping to catch the same fire that Zoom has in the post-COVID19 pandemic era. The service, as of yesterday, was only available to hold video conferences with G-Suite users with a premium account. Google has removed this restriction today via blog post to all users with a Google account.

There’s a caveat that the rollout will be gradual according to Google:

Today, we’re making Google Meet, our premium video conferencing product, 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 many of the same features available to our business and education users, such as simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to your preference, including an expanded tiled view.

Google is also leveraging the recent pitfalls around Zoom and security. The company has implemented many default measure it feels will help avoid unwanted users “bombing” calls.

  • We provide a strong set of host controls such as the ability to admit or deny entry to a meeting, and mute or remove participants if needed.
  • We do not allow anonymous users (i.e., without a Google Account) to join meetings created by individual accounts.
  • Meet meeting codes are complex by default and therefore resilient to brute-force “guessing.”
  • Meet video meetings are encrypted in transit, and all recordings stored in Google Drive are encrypted in transit and at rest.
  • We don’t require plugins to use Meet on the web. It works entirely in Chrome and other modern browsers, so it’s less vulnerable to security threats.
  • On mobile, we have dedicated Google Meet apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
  • Meet users can enroll their account in Google’s Advanced Protection Program—our strongest protections available against phishing and account hijacking.
  • Google Cloud undergoes regular rigorous security and privacy audits for all its services. Our global compliance certifications can help support regulatory requirements such as GDPR and HIPAA, as well as COPPA and FERPA for education.
  • Your Meet data is not used for advertising, and we don’t sell your data to third parties.

It’s also worth noting that Meet for free members will be limited to only a 60-minute video session, but Google will not enforce this action until September 30. Even with the limitations, this offers folks a great option to have up to 100 participants on a video call, and the company just implemented a Zoom-style grid to show all users in the preview.

If you’d like to stay up-to-date on the rollout, Google has a signup page at the landing page.

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