Google Meet Is Now Free If You Need To Host Free Video Conferences

Google is cutting the price of its Google Meet video conferencing app all the way down to “free.” All you need to access it is a Google account—not a pricier G-Suite subscription, like before. (Though, as part of the launch of this Google Meet free version, G Suite subscribers also get free access to the enterprise version of meet through September 30th.)

There are two obvious reasons behind this move: the first is to compete against the recent rise of Zoom, and the other is allowing Google to move one step closer to shuttering Google Hangouts. While Hangouts video chat is still a thing, it will be folded into Meet in the near future.

As for competing with Zoom, Google Meet has some stark differences that make it unique among the myriad of Zoom alternatives out there.

The free version of Google Meet supports up to 100 Google users in a single call, which is on par with Zoom. However, Google Meet conferences are only accessible to those with a Google Account, and the free version lacks landline dial-in access. Zoom, on the other hand, is accessible to anyone with the proper link or dial-in number.

Google Meet will also limit meeting length for free users. Calls can have an unlimited length until September 30th, when Google plans to limit recordings to sixty minutes. (G Suite users will still be able to hold unlimited-length meetings, however.)

The Google account requirement and lack of dial-in option for the free version makes Google Meet inherently less accessible than Zoom, but it also makes Google Meet meetings less susceptible to “Zoom bombing.” It even requires users to be accepted into a call before joining if they weren’t directly invited by the host. Google Meet also has the benefit of cross-app integration, making it easy to create and join meetings from the the Meet, Google Calendar, and Gmail web pages and Android/iOS apps.

The wide range of device and browser support is a plus for Google Meet, but it also means there are multiple ways to start a video meeting depending on the platform you’re using, but we’ll walk you each possible way to get a Google Meet conference started right away, or scheduled for later.

To start a new Google Meet conference

On desktop

  1. Go to the web browser of your choice.

  2. Sign in with your Google account.

  3. Click “Start a meeting.” You can create an optional nickname for your meeting.

  4. Click “Continue.”

  5. Click “Join now” to begin the meeting.

You can now add/invite participants:

  1. Go to People > Add People.

  2. Select or type in the contact name/email address you wish to invite.

  3. Click “Send invite.”

  4. You can also click “Copy joining info” then paste and send the invite info in an email or messaging app.

Android and iOS/iPad

  1. Open the Google Meet app (Android, iOS/iPadOS)

  2. Tap “Add New meeting.” You may add an optional meeting nickname if you wish.

  3. Tap “Join meeting” to start.

  4. To invite others, tap Info > “Share” to send the meeting link via your device’s share menu.

How to schedule a future Google Meet video chat

On Google Calendar (desktop)

  1. Go to Google Calendar.

  2. Click “+ Create” to create an event.

  3. Add in the event details and time.

  4. To invite others, click the “Guests” tab, then click “Add guests.”

  5. Add their email addresses.

  6. You can also tap “Add Conferencing” to create a Meet link that can be copy/pasted into other apps.

  7. Click “Save” to finalise and add the event to your calendar, then click “Send.” Your guests will receive an email with the meeting info and links to join.

Android and iOS/iPad

  1. Open the Google Calendar app (Android, iOS/iPadOS).

  2. Tap “+” then select “Add Event.” Add the event details in the event editor.

  3. To add guests, tap “Add People” then add the email addresses/gmail contacts you wish to invite.

  4. Tap “Done.”

  5. Tap “Save” to add the event to your calendar and send guest invites.


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