Now, in terms of usage and popularity Zoom is very much a household name. But that hasn't stopped the platform from stumbling in recent weeks-especially in the security realm
However, the reign of Zoom as King of video conferencing platforms may soon come to an end. Facebook updated Messenger to allow up to 50 people for group video chats. And now, by giving Google account holders free access to Google Meets, Google is stepping in with its own entry. Is the switch worth the effort?
Say hello to Google Meet
On April 29, Google announced that its enterprise video conferencing service, Google Meet, would be available free of charge to all Google account holders.
Google outlined several key features designed to protect user data, as well as their experience in chatting and collaborating with friends and coworkers, in what was perhaps a veiled shot at Zoom's security fumbles. These features come with the following items:
Host controls to admit or deny entry to a chat room
No anonymous users. You must have a Google Account to create a room or join a room created by another Google user
Complex meeting codes that cannot be easily guessed or brute-forced
No plugins required, removing additional security risks
Dedicated, secure mobile apps
Compliant with multiple regulatory and security standards like GDPR and HIPAA, COPPA and FERPA
These features are a boon compared to the Zoom, which has scant security settings. The ban on anonymous users, in particular, and the ability to deny entry to your room are some of the best options hosts need to stop chatting hijackers like ZoomBombers.
Google also stated that as of September 30 G Suite Essentials, which includes Meet for teams and workplaces, will also be available free of charge. However, you'll need to fill in an application to qualify.
Google hasn't set a specific release date for free access to Google Meet, but the company plans to roll out that feature to specific users starting next week. The rollout is going to be gradual so not everybody gets immediate access.
All of this sounds great but what is the catch?
As with any major internet service, some tradeoffs will bring in the free edition. Meetings for free users, for example, are limited to 60 minutes but this will not take effect until after September 30.
In addition, you need a Google Account to use this service and to access it. While that may not sound bad on its own, this also means that Google will save and collect your search history data, YouTube viewer history and Google Meets chat history as part of your digital footprint with Google. That's a lot of data going into just one business.
You can of course get ahead of Google by deleting what they know about you before you meet on Google Meet. That way, you start with a clean slate before Google begins requesting even more data.