Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Google announced today that it’s extending free access to some advanced features in its teleconferencing service Google Meet until September 30th. Google had previously announced on March 3rd that it would offer free access to those features until July 1st.
Google is letting all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers host meetings via Meet with up to 250 participants, live-stream to up to 100,000 people within a single domain, and save meeting recordings to Google Drive. These features are typically only available to people on the “enterprise” tier of G Suite, which costs $25 per user per month.
“Whether working with consumers or businesses, you shouldn’t have to trade reliability, security and privacy for universal access and scale,” said Javier Soltero, vice president and general manager of G Suite, in a statement to The Verge. “During this time, it’s important people have access to the apps and tools they enjoy using, and I have always held up G Suite as the best examples of products that win by choice. We take this responsibility very seriously, and as a company we look to helpfulness as a guiding principle.”
Google Meet is the rebranded name of Hangouts Meet — a rebrand that became apparent yesterday after a Google blog post and a number of support pages were found using the new name.
Meet is seeing a huge surge in usage as families, students, and workers are forced to stay home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Google says Meet is adding more than 2 million users per day and that daily usage is up more than 25 times what it was in January.
Other conferencing services are seeing significant growth as well. Zoom, for example, revealed on April 2nd that it had more than 200 million daily meeting participants as of March, up from 10 million in December. And Microsoft said on March 19th that its Teams collaboration software jumped from 32 million active users to 44 million active users in a week.