Google Meet Now Free To Anyone With An Email Account

Google Cloud announced Wednesday it will make its video-conferencing platform free. The company also said the Meet data will not be used for advertising and isn’t for sale to third parties.

Beginning in early May, anyone with an email address can sign up for Google Meet. The platform supports scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to preference.

Earlier this month, Google reported it would add more options and speed up the release of features for Meet. The company also said it would only offer for free to G Suite customers advanced features such as larger meetings, live streaming, and recording through Sep 30, 2020.

Javier Soltero, VP of G Suite, believes the COVID-19 pandemic has created a shift in the way people communicate in the workplace, at school and at home. More are looking for secure video conferencing tools for everyday life.

Since the pandemic, the video conferencing space has received heightened attention from users, as well as developers at leading tech companies. Microsoft Teams and Zoom have seen increased use since the start of COVID-19.

Google disclosed that since January, Meet's daily use rate grew by 30-times. The company surpassed a new milestone at 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding roughly 3 million new users every day. As of last week, Meet's daily meeting participants surpassed 100 million. Earlier this month the company reported connected 2 million new users on Google Meet daily and, spending more than 2 billion minutes together.

As for privacy, security controls are turned on by default. Google reports using “counter-abuse protection” to keep the content of meetings safe. These include anti-hijacking for web meetings and dial-ins. The technology also makes it difficult to “programmatically brute force meeting IDs,” which occurs when a malicious individual attempts to guess the ID of a meeting and make an unauthorized attempt to join it by using codes that are 10 characters long, with 25 characters in the set.

Time is limited to join a meeting 15 minutes in advance, reducing the window in which a brute force attack can even be attempted. External participants cannot join meetings unless they are on the calendar invite or have been invited by in-domain participants. Otherwise, they must request to join the meeting, and their request must be accepted by a member of the host organization. 

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