If you are looking for a free group video calling service that allows up to 100 participants and is secure, you are in luck. Google just announced that Google Meet will be free for anyone using a Google account.
Up to now, Google Meet was a premium service which was used only in business and education with G Suite accounts, but the company has decided to open the service as of May 4. They justify the date by claiming that they want the experience to be “safe and reliable from the start.” The good thing is that, from that moment, calls can be initiated from Gmail.
The move by Google is great news for millions of people who these days want to make quality group video calls, and it means a great alternative to other services widely used these days, like Skype, Jitsi Meet or Zoom. From some of these applications, Google has been borrowing ideas such as the grid view or the cancellation of ambient noise. On mobile, for example, Google Meet will receive a feature that will make low light images look better.
Up to 100 participants with encryption, and unlimited talk time until September
One of the things Google Meet excels at the most, like Hangouts, is in image quality. It is something that we could see from the hands of our Xataka colleagues, although this too implies higher data consumption.
However, what can attract more users in the face of the image crisis that Zoom has gone through due to doubts about its security is that it is Google that guarantees the security and privacy of calls from up to 100 participants. Of those 100, only 16 can be viewed simultaneously in the tile view. Video calls are limited to 60 minutes on the free plan, but will not apply until September.
Google Meet video calls will not have a time limit until September 30
In that sense, Google reminds us that all data is encrypted in transit between the client and Google in browsers and mobile applications. Meet recordings stored on Google Drive are also encrypted by default. So that there are no problems like “zoombombings”, they will not be able to participate in the so-called anonymous users, and the hosts will have full capabilities of admitting participants. Among other functions of Google Meet, it stands out the possibility of sharing screen (full or tab) or the ability to silence all participants.
Unlike services like Jitsi Meet, the penalty is that Google Meet does not allow group video calls without the need to install an application on the mobile, so many users may have another problem to get to connect and start a conversation. In the main desktop browsers, however, there is no plugin installation required.