How Hangouts Meet, video calling platform works

Goole Meet is the group (or pair) video conferencing platform designed for G Suite and G Suite for Education users. Here's how it works

For a long time, Hangouts was Google's answer to WhatsApp. Or, at least, it was supposed to be, in Big G's plans. The internal messaging platform within Gmail, however, has never had the luck they expected from the parts of Mountain View and has never really managed to undermine the platform acquired in the meantime by Facebook.

Also for this reason, in January 2019 Google decided to put an end to the Hangouts experience. From the ashes of the messaging platform, two different services were born: Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. In this case, however, there is absolutely no ambition to counter WhatsApp: these are two G Suite applications, the collaborative platform that Google has designed and developed for professionals and businesses. The first, Chat, allows members of the same group to exchange text messages, share documents and photos and much more. Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet are also part of G Suites for Education, the platform that includes tools and applications designed for the school environment (such as Google Classroom or the productivity suite with Google Docs and Google Sheets). Thanks to the integration with Google Classroom, for example, it will be possible to organize

What Google Meet does

Hangouts Meet is a video conferencing platform born from the ashes of Hangouts. Compared to the latter, however, the new solution from Big G offers advanced tools and features designed for professional users and educational institutions. Google Meet allows you to make "single" video calls and video conferences with up to 250 users connected at the same time. All with extreme simplicity and intuitiveness: as we'll see in a moment, starting a video call with Google Meet does not require any specific equipment or prior technical knowledge.

How Google Meet works

In fact, just press a button to start the live broadcast and another button to invite people to participate. With two clicks (or presses on the display of the smartphone), in short, you'll be ready to present your work project or start an online lesson with your class. The platform itself will take care of the rest: images and audio can be captured with the camera and microphone of the PC or smartphone or, alternatively, with an external microphone and camera.

Hangouts Meet works indifferently on PCs and smartphones: in the first case it will be enough to have a browser installed (supports Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari) without the need to use clients or plugins of any kind; in the second case you'll have to install the app from the Play Store (for Android devices) or App Store (for iPhones and iPads) and grant the necessary permissions. The start of the video call, as mentioned, is almost immediate, as well as the mode of invitation and participation in the conversation. At the end of the conference, you can decide to save the recording on the cloud space linked to your profile.

How to make a video call with Google Meet

To be able to create a video conference with Google Meet you must have a Google account and have subscribed to G Suite (we'll see the costs later) or be enrolled in an educational institution that has activated a subscription to G Suite for Education. If you meet these prerequisites, making a school videoconference or an online lesson will take a matter of seconds.

The easiest way is to open a new browser window, open the website and start the videoconference by clicking on the "Join or start a meeting" button. In the window that appears, enter the nick name you prefer and start the videoconference. On the next screen you'll see a small overlay window with all the data you need to invite other people to participate in the online lesson or conference: there's a link for direct access to the "room", a phone number with a PIN code to participate by phone and a form to send the invitation by e-mail.

The procedure for creating a videoconference from the app is not much more complex. Once you've launched the app, just click on the "+ New Meeting" button and wait a few moments: a window will appear with all the necessary data to invite other users to participate.

How to participate in a video call with Google Meet

To take part in a conference created with Hangouts Meet you don't need to have a Google account. Instead, you'll need to have received an email invitation or the link to access the "room" directly. Una volta che l’interfaccia si sarà caricata si dovrà scegliere un nome utente ed entrare. Volendo, è possibile partecipare a una conferenza con Google Meet anche via telefono: nella finestra con i dati compare anche un numero di telefono e un codice da digitare dalla tastiera del telefono. Seguendo la procedura guidata telefonica entrerete nella stanza virtuale anche senza bisogno di videocamera attiva, potendo così partecipare ugualmente alla discussione.

Google Meet costi

Prerequisito necessario per utilizzare Google Meet è quello di aver sottoscritto un abbonamento a G Suite, la piattaforma di Google per professionisti. Il costo di Google Meet è gratuito, dal momento che si tratta di un applicativo incluso nella suite, mentre il prezzo di G Suite varia a seconda del profilo che si sceglie e del numero di account che si creano. G Suite for Education, invece, è gratuito per gli studenti e i professori, mentre ha un costo per le scuole.

I piani tariffari sono tre e hanno le seguenti caratteristiche:

  • G Suite Basic. Costa 5,2 euro al mese per ogni utenza creata e mette a disposizione 30 gigabyte di spazio d’archiviazione sul cloud di Google Drive; l’email aziendale con domino personalizzato (ad esempio, [email protected]); l’accesso a Hangouts Chat e Hangouts Meet (conferenze con un massimo di 100 partecipanti) e l’accesso alla suite di produttività made in Mountain View
  • G Suite Business. Costa 10,40 euro al mese per ogni utenza creata e, rispetto al piano Basic, mette a disposizione spazio cloud illimitato (1 terabyte se le utenze aziendali create sono meno di 5); ricerca “smart" in tutti gli applicativi G Suite; conferenze su Google Meet con un massimo di 150 partecipanti; la possibilità di fare backup protetti all’interno di Vault
  • G Suite Enterprises. It costs 23 euros per month for each user created and, compared to the Business plan, it gives the possibility to create videoconferences with up to 250 participants and advanced management-administrative tools