Pandemic Drives Google, Microsoft, Others To Innovate Faster, Amp Up Video

Google plans to add more options for its Meet videoconferencing service and is accelerating the development cycle and release to compete with a variety of companies that have also sped up the release of features in the past month.

The service, which will launch ahead of schedule for business and education, will allow Gmail users to take direct calls on its videoconferencing tool Meet, formerly Hangouts Meet. The offering seeks to capitalize on security concerns with rival services, such as Zoom, according to Reuters.

Google Meet has added users at a rapid pace since January as homeschooling and work-from-home orders were put into place. The version is different from Hangouts as it’s geared more toward business and school, rather than a service that lets people connect with friend and family.

Google Meet plans to add a layout that will let up to 16 people be visually seen on the screen simultaneously, similar to Zoom.

“Over the last few weeks, Meet’s day-over-day growth surpassed 60%, and as a result, its daily usage is more than 25 times what it was in January,” Thomas Kurian, CEO at Google Cloud, wrote in a blog posted March 31.

Microsoft Teams — a videoconferencing tool used by more than 44 million people, estimates the company — also has experienced a spike in recent months. The influx of users prompted Microsoft to increase the speed in feature releases to “bring you closer to your friends and family.”

Microsoft Teams features will arrive on the mobile app in the coming months, allowing people to share photos and videos in a group chat and make video calls. In addition, you will soon be able to collaborate over shared to-do lists, assign tasks to specific people, and coordinate schedules.

The video space is getting a bit crowded. GoDaddy recently told Search Marketing Daily that its developers are exploring the possibility of either building out its own video chat feature or building an API that plugs into its website building platforms, allowing numerous partners to plug directly into its technology. This would give users more choices on video chat services.

Heidi Gibson, senior director of product management at GoDaddy, said the company's been accelerating upgrades and features that fast track product releases to deliver services and products to small-and-medium size businesses when they need them most. For GoDaddy, she said, it’s become a way of life in the past few months.

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