Google Meet becomes free for all users with a G Suite account: integration with Gmail will come soon. Here's the news
To respond to the advance of Zoom, that during the lockdown for the coronavirus pandemic has grown enormously both in number of users and hours of use, both Microsoft and Google are pushing their respective video calling services to the maximum: Google Meet and Microsoft Teams. Google, in particular, is trying to push Meet by integrating it with Gmail.
With millions of active Gmail users worldwide, Google has chosen the left-hand column of the email service to encourage the spread of a new service. And right there, in the all-too-crowded Gmail side column, is about to pop up the option to start a meeting or join one already launched by one of our contacts. This new feature will be released gradually in the coming weeks, still few users have seen it live.
Not only for business
G Suite business users already have the ability to launch a Meet meeting from their Gmail account, but only if they access it from a web browser. But Meet itself was initially a service reserved for G Suite users. From the early days of the pandemic, however, Google realized that the time was right to spread Meet to the general public and made it available for free to everyone until September. Last week, Google went even further, making Meet free for everyone and allowing meetings for up to 100 participants and no time limit. Today, Google says Meet is used daily by more than 100 million users worldwide.
Meet, Hangouts Meet, Google Hangouts
Meet is just the latest attempt by Google to enter the video calling market. The first dates back to the beginning of the decade, when the first Google Hangouts was launched along with the now-defunct Google+ social network. Even then the service had more or less the same functionality as today, but it didn't break through because the time wasn't ripe and, above all, because it was tied to the Google+ account and not to the Gmail one. Then Google turned Hangouts into a premium product for businesses, renaming it Hangouts Meet. That attempt didn't work out either. Now there's Meet, which is basically still the same service with a third name but, due to the unpredictable events of the past few weeks, has finally achieved the success Google hoped for nearly a decade ago.