How many of you knew there was a video conferencing app built by Google before the lock-down? Yeah, I’m talking about Google Meet, previously known as Hangout Meet. Google launched Meet way back in 2017, and this video conferencing program only allowed 30 participants back then.
Some people may have confused it with Google Hangouts. But it was more of an updated version of this product.
Since then, Google has modified lots of the features of this app that turned out to be one of the most accessible apps in the Post-COVID era.
Zoom existed even before 2017, and it looked like Google had delivered a perfect product to compete with Zoom and other similar video conferencing apps.
Google Meet didn’t have many users at the beginning, and they were just office staff. They used it for an office meeting, and they still use it.
But after the shutdown in March 2020, the number of users increased significantly. The General Manager of Google and the Vice President of G-Suite, Javier Soltero, said that more than two million new users are connecting to this video conferencing software regularly.
They hadn’t been so shocked at this unimaginative development.
But let me tell you another surprising truth. Users invest 2 billion minutes a day at Google Meet. That means they spend 3,800 years every single day!
Let that sink in for a couple of seconds.
This video conferencing software has successfully replaced Skype, which people used for business meetings, and has now become a necessary tool for faculty and students.
You will see the description of the new features below and how we can use them effectively.
Every perfect product has some flaw, and so does Meet. I will talk about that too.
Google Meet Features And Their Beneficial Factors
One of the best things they did was to raise the number of participants. This specific feature has been modified, and Google Meet now allows a limit of 250 participants.
If you need 200 or more members for a meeting (which normally doesn’t), then you’ll have to pay for the G-Suite Enterprise. If you need 150 participants, you have to pay $8 a month and get 100 participants free of charge.
There is a time limit for a video conferencing conference, which is one hour.
You can send a message during a meeting that is a standard function of many video conferencing apps so far. So, this isn’t a big deal.
You can add a live caption, but this feature has limitations. You can write in English only.
Screen sharing is also a popular and much-needed feature for any video conferencing program at the moment, or no one will use that app.
You can share your screen at the beginning or at any time of the meeting.
There is a “present now” option on the bottom side of the toolbar.
Interestingly, you can either share an application window or the entire window screen.
It’s up to you. You can record your video call anytime you want, and it will be stored on your Google Drive.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a free feature of this software.
For people in this country who are using the free edition, this is the only downside they face when using this app.
On the other side, people can record a video meeting for free on Zoom.
I’m going to get to it later. There is a Dial-In option for both citizens who live in the United States and other countries.
Noise cancellation is one of the most advanced features of Google Meet.
I am truly mesmerized by the cleverness of the Google Team and the person who came with this feature.
It’s the ideal function for a noisy country like ours, where it’s hard to listen to anyone else over the phone or a video conference. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an Android user or an iOS.
Google Meet will filter out background noise in both cases.
The app immediately eliminates the disturbing noises other than the human voice.
Sometimes our parents talk loudly. Sometimes there is the crying sound of the baby or the barking of our pet dog.
You don’t need to worry about it when you use Google Meet. There is a protection framework called the anti-abuse feature.
Google Meet deploying anti-abuse initiatives to keep our video meeting safe from hijacking and many other security issues.
Lastly, I want to mention one of the best features of this app.
Integration is the best aspect of Google Meet, and that’s one of the key reasons people enjoy Meet more than Zoom or any other video conferencing apps.
Google Meet incorporate Google Drive, Gmail, and most notably, Google Calendar and Google Classroom. This integration process would make the experience smoother.
At the end of this post, I shall speak about this particular part.
Google has revised several features and introduced some new features to Google Meet since the lock-down began.
They also found that teachers, faculties, and students have started to use it in their daily lives since the beginning of the lock-down.
Unfortunately, Meet hasn’t installed a built digital whiteboard yet. However, with Google Meet, you can use some whiteboard software like Chrome Canvas or Google Jamboard.
Google Jamboard is very useful when you think about it. It is a collaboration method that can be used by both teachers and students or attendees.
If you want to build a business plan with your partner, it will be a valuable tool for you. There’s another tiny but successful feature Google Meet produced, and that’s hand-raising.
Since the beginning of the lockout, faculties and students have had trouble communicating with each other, because students did not know when to talk.
You can also lower your hand after you have been noticed by your instructor. It is a free feature that everyone can use.
Google Meet has introduced another much-needed feature, which is the breakout room. You can set up a video conference and have almost 100 breakout rooms for 100 participants.
People who set up meetings may also switch participants to a variety of different rooms.
Another useful function is the customization of the background that is helpful when you are video conferencing in a messy space.
Changing the background is needed for a range of scenarios, such as giving presentations or business meetings.
Customizing background can represent more of one’s personality when that person presents himself.
Yet some drawbacks
In the modern era, people will find certain flaws no matter how perfect the technology.
Google Meets is not so different in this case. They will suggest to make it better. Google Meets has a variety of issues.
First of all, you cannot record a call if you use it for free. It is the biggest downside for our country’s users, and many are using Zoom because of that.
You can use the free version of Zoom to record a call.
Second, customizing the background is not a huge breakthrough, as Zoom already has the same feature. It provides a good service.
Few users have found it hard to customize the background. Some of them have an error message, and this is a matter of concern.
Even, when you customize the background, your video call will be interrupted. Sometimes the other participants see your still image, which means there’s a problem with this function.
Let’s hope they’ll fix it as soon as possible unless they want their users to turn to Zoom.
There are a few concerns from iOS users that the video conference had been disrupted several times, but this is a minor problem.
There were problems with picture quality, but it has been fixed. Last but not least, this app has less free features compared to Zoom.
The premium features were available for everyone from the start of the lock-down to 30 September 2020. The number of users grew significantly during that time but continued to increase steadily after the availability of premium features had vanished.
Also, Zoom’s breakout rooms and configure context features are more advanced than Meet and Zoom charges per host, not per Meet user. In that way, Zoom is a little cheaper than Meets.
Yet I prefer Meets in most of the situation
Zoom’s premium edition can have 1,000 callers, but do we need it? We don’t even need 250 people at a meeting if I’m talking realistically.
In that context, I’d prefer Google Meet. Besides, Meet is integrated with Gmail, Google Classroom, which makes your life easier.
Most South Asian students use the free edition of Meets for online classes and tests, and this is the best reason why most of them are not switching to other video conferencing software.
Google Meet’s noise cancellation and live captioning make online classes more fun for users. Google Meet has a better privacy system than most of the other apps.
It does not let enter unknown users from entering calls. It also has the encryption of recordings, which is helpful if you are a faculty member who has to provide the day to day recordings to the class. It is easier in another way than Zoom, which is adding participants.
Google Meets only needs you to download the app if you are on phone, but you can start a video conferencing call only by visiting https://meet.google.com/ .
It is that simple!
Zoom is a little bit tricky, and you have to go through some hassle to start a call. You have to install a browser extension or software to start a call in Zoom.
The bottom line is, Google Meet has various flaws, and it had more flaws in the past, but they corrected them fast.
Zoom may give you more features, but if you want simplicity and an enjoyable experience free of cost and without hassle, then Google Meet is the right one for you.
Hopefully, they will allow the free users to record the call, and once they do, it will be a big blow for other video conferencing software.
Zoom is doing really well too, but I hope you all got my point. As a free user, most people do love to Meet more than other apps.
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