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Google makes premium app Meets free for everyone

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Inspired by the growing use of its video conferencing app Meet – 30 lakh new users joining the platform daily – Google has announced to make its premium video meeting app free for everyone in social distancing times.

The free availability of the Meet app will roll out globally including in India in the coming weeks.

“With Google Meet becoming free for everyone, individual users will be able to host meetings with up to 100 participants and the meeting length is going to be 60 minutes, but we are not enforcing it until September 30,” Smita Hashim, Director, Product Management, Google Cloud, told IANS.

According to Hashim, Google Meet is secure and reliable and overtime, “we expect our Hangouts users to switch to Google Meet”.

“We make certain essential services free. For Google Meet, we do not have plans to monetise it. We hope video conferencing will continue to be an essential service,” she said, adding that the company plans to bring more changes to the layout of Google Meet in the future.

Since January, Google has seen Meet’s peak daily usage grow by 30 times.

Meet is currerntly hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding roughly 3 million new users every day.

“As of last week, Meet’s daily meeting participants surpassed 100 million,” informed Javier Soltero, Vice President & GM, G Suite.

“Your Meet data is not used for advertising, and we don’t sell your data to third parties,” he said in a statement.

Starting in early May, anyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and enjoy many of the same features available to our business and education users, such as simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to your preference, including an expanded tiled view.

“Beginning next week, we’ll be gradually expanding its availability to more and more people over the following weeks. This means you might not be able to create meetings at meet.google.com right away, but you can sign up to be notified when it’s available,” informed Soltero.

Google said it does not allow anonymous users (without a Google Account) to join meetings created by individual accounts.

“Through September 30, we’re providing G Suite Essentials and all of these advanced features free of charge,” the company added.

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