Google Meet is a video-communication service developed by Google.It is one of two apps that constitute the replacement for Google Hangouts, the other being Google Chat. Google planned to begin retiring Google Hangouts in October 2019.
After being invite-only and quietly releasing an iOS app in February 2017, Google formally launched Meet in March 2017.The service was unveiled as a video conferencing app for up to 30 participants, described as an enterprise-friendly version of Hangouts. At launch, it featured a web app, an Android app, and an iOS app. Features for G Suite users include:
- Up to 100 members per call for G Suite Basic users, up to 150 for G Suite Business users, and up to 250 for G Suite Enterprise users
- Ability to join meetings from the web or through the Android or iOS app
- Ability to call into meetings with a dial-in number
- Password-protected dial-in numbers for G Suite Enterprise edition users
- Integration with Google Calendar for one-click meeting calls
- Screen-sharing to present documents, spreadsheets, or presentations
- Encrypted calls between all users
- Real-time closed captioning based on speech recognition
- Free users have some further limitations:
- Meetings (after September 2020) are limited to 60 minutes.
- All participants must have a Google account.
While Google Meet introduced the above features to upgrade the original Hangouts application, some standard Hangouts features were deprecated, including viewing attendees and chat simultaneously. The number of video feeds allowed at one time was also reduced to 8 (while up to 4 feeds can be shown in a "tiles" layout), prioritizing those attendees who most recently used their microphone. Additionally features such as the chat box were changed to overlay the video feeds, rather than resizing the latter to fit.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis in March 2020, Google began offering Meet's advanced features that previously required an enterprise account to anyone using G Suite or G Suite for Education.The use of Meet grew by a factor of 30 between January and April of 2020, with 100 million users a day accessing Meet, compared to 200 million daily uses for Zoom as of the last week of April 2020.
Until May 2020, a G Suite account was required to initiate and host a Meet video conference, but with increased demand for video conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Google rolled out free access to Meet also for holders of consumer accounts.Following the announcement, Google's Director of Product Management recommended that consumers use Meet over Hangouts.
Users need a Google account to initiate calls and like G Suite users, anyone with a Google account is able to start a Meet call from within Gmail. Free meet calls have no time limit, but will be limited to 60 minutes starting in September 2020. For security reasons, hosts can deny entry and remove users during a call. As of April 2020, Google plans to roll out a noise cancelling audio filter and a low-light mode.
Google Meet uses proprietary protocols for video, audio and data transcoding. However, Google has partnered with the company Pexip to provide interoperability between Google Meet and SIP/H.323-based conferencing equipment and software.
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