Google Makes Google Meet Videoconferencing Software Free

Google has released its videoconferencing app Meet for free, angling for a slice of the rapidly-expanding market even as a majority of Americans reveal they wouldn’t trust the company with their Covid-19 infection status.

Meet, which according to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai is adding three million users daily, will be available to anyone with an email address and a Google account in the coming weeks, the tech behemoth revealed on Wednesday in a blog post.

The videoconferencing platform allows up to 100 people to chat together and was previously available only to subscribers of Google’s premium “G Suite” software. A 60-minute time limit won’t be enforced until the end of September, the company promised.

A videoconferencing gold rush has erupted in the wake of Covid-19-related lockdowns worldwide, and Google’s Meet expansion comes less than a week after Facebook’s decision to release its own “Rooms” videoconferencing platform for Messenger ahead of schedule. Ironically, Zoom was slammed in the press and even sued earlier this month for sharing users’ data with Facebook without their consent. Perhaps with that fact in mind, Facebook reassured Rooms users that it would not be monetizing the platform – a strategy Google has echoed.

“Your Meet data is not used for advertising, and we don’t sell your data to third parties,” the company stressed, insisting “our approach to security is simple: make products safe by default.”

Today, we’re making Google Meet, our premium video conferencing product, free for everyone, with availability rolling out over the coming weeks. We’ve invested years in making Meet a secure and reliable video conferencing solution that’s trusted by schools, governments and enterprises around the world, and in recent months we’ve accelerated the release of top-requested features to make it even more helpful. 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.

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