The change of name from Google Hangouts Meet to Google Meet isn’t the only new thing that is happening with the search giant’s video conferencing solution. Google is offering all the premium features of Meet for free, till the end of September. The premium features are available for free for all users till September 30, and the feature set includes the ability to host larger meetings for up to 250 participants per call, the ability to Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain and the option to record meetings which are then saved to Google Drive. This would be good news for almost anyone who needs a reliable video conferencing solution as millions around the world work from home to stay protected from the Coronavirus, or COVID-19.
There seems to be considerable interest in Google Meet, in an ecosystem that also has Zoom which is facing criticisms over privacy, Microsoft’s revamped Skype Meet Now, Microsoft Teams and Signal to name a few. The company says they are adding as many as 2 million new users every day to the Meet platform. “Earlier this week, we surpassed a new milestone, with more than 2 million new users connecting on Google Meet every day, and they're spending over 2 billion minutes together---that’s more than 3,800 years of secure meetings in a single day. We’re humbled by the huge responsibility that comes with this growth, and we’re determined to continue doing our part to help,” says Javier Soltero, General Manager & VP, G Suite at Google.
Last month, Google had made these premium features available to G Suite and G Suite for Education customers but are now extending this to all businesses, organizations, institutions, and educators.
In fact, Google is in the process of renaming the Google Hangouts Meet to Google Meet. It is also believed to be revamping the Hangouts branding from Hangouts Chat, which means that will be called Google Chat. However, the consumer-focused chatting app still is called Hangouts. The move perhaps comes at a time when Google thought it most prudent to give Meet and Chat a more professional branding, and Hangouts as a word doesn’t exactly the invoke a vision of serious businessmen in suits muddling over numbers via a video meeting.