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Friday, May 8, 2020

Things You Should Know about Google Meet

Google Meet went live in Australia yesterday without much fanfare as Google's answer to Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Webex with a free chat that emulates the best features of these other video conferencing platforms. Until the end of September, you can use Google Meet for video conferences of
  • Up to 100 people 
  • Time is not limited 
  • As many meetings as you like 
To initiate a Google Meet meeting, you will need to 
  • Download the Google Meet app from the Google Play store 
  • Accept the permissions that Google Meet will need to run video conferencing 
  • Click on +New Meeting in the Google Meet app OR 
    • Create a new Google Calendar entry, click on Add Videoconferencing, Add another participant that you want to meet, choose the time and date for the meeting and when you close the entry, choose to Send the invite to the other participant. If they do not have Google meet installed, when they click on the Join Meeting link, it will prompt them to install Google Meet in Google Play. Interestingly, if you send someone a calendar invitation, it appears in their Google Calendar without them realising it. Could this be used to spam people's calendar? 
Google Meet has a few features that makes it a worthwhile replacement for other video conferencing tools on the market
  • Subtitles for the meeting can be turned on and appear in a visually appealing format on the computer, showing the person's Google ID face and then the words being said 
  • Participants can be arranged in the Zoom tile format or the MS Teams spotlight format where people appear when they speak. You can also pin people to the screen so that you always see them, even when they don't speak. 
  • When people are participating using their phone, their video will cut off when they switch their screen to another app, so other participants know that they are no longer seeing them, but they will still be able to hear and speak in the meeting. 
  • Even when you are using Google Meet on your phone, you can present your mobile phone screen to talk participants through what is on your screen and they can zoom in on your phone's screen while you are presenting if the screen is too small. 
  • Also it is apparently more secure than Zoom and less to set up and install for MS Teams which requires quite a few steps to add people to a team, then to a channel etc. 
Will Google extend this beyond September? If not, it will only remain free for those that are Google Suite subscribers but this will prove to be increasingly used over the coming weeks and may make a compelling means to bring more people into the Google ecosystem and remain free for that reason.

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