Google has announced that it will make its Google Meet video conferencing tool-free, until now for professional accounts, which will begin to be available to all users from May 4.
Google Meet, until a few weeks ago called Hangouts Meet, was until now only available to professional users of governments and companies with G Suite and could be used at no additional cost for educational use by students and teachers since March to help the Covid-19 pandemic.
Now, anyone with a Google email address will be able to sign up for Meet starting May 4, when it will gradually launch over the next few weeks, as the US company announced in a statement.
Google Meet will be available as a free app for iOS and Android on Google Play and the App Store, as well as from its meet.google.com website and with shortcuts from Google Calendar.
In addition, people who cannot access Google Meet meetings since May 4, will be able to subscribe to receive a notification when the service is available.
Users of the free version of Google Meet will be able to use various professional-focused features such as scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and the tiled view option.
In the no-cost mode, meetings are limited to 60 minutes, but this limit will not apply until after September 30.
G Suite Essentials
Google has also announced G Suite Essentials, a new payment plan for non-Google customers with features like phone numbers to join calls, larger meetings, recording option and moderation controls.
G Suite Essentials also includes Google Drive, with access to cloud content and the Documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations applications, and will be available for free until September 30.
The new Essentials plan will also be included for professional G Suite customers until September 30, who will have new features such as live streaming up to 100,000 viewers per Meet.
Since January, the daily use of Meet has multiplied by 30, and every day it hosts 3,000 million minutes of video meetings and adds 3 million new users. In addition, last week the daily participants in Meet meetings exceeded 100 million.