Google’s long history of messaging and chat apps has taken yet another turn this month with the newly named Google Meet. Better known as Google Hangouts Meet, this service incorporates the best of Hangouts into a more business-friendly package. Let’s take a look at how Google Meet compares to Zoom and Skype.
Using Google Meet
The most important thing to note with Google Meet is that anyone can now use it. Google recently removed its stipulation that only Google Suite users could initiate a video call. Access to scheduling free video calls is slowly rolling out to Google users. Free accounts will be limited to 60-minute meetings with up to 100 participants beginning in September 2020. Until then, Google is allowing unlimited calls while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Anyone with a Google account can join and soon schedule a Meet.
Google Meet apps are available on iOS, Android, and the Web, as well as Chromebooks. To start a Meet, you must “join or start a meeting” at meet.google.com. If you have a meeting ID, you can enter it right at that web address and immediately join. Google account holders can set up a meeting on the same page.
How Much Does Google Meet Cost
At this time, Google’s free version of Meet remains limited. To gain full functionality with Meet, you or your organization has to subscribe to one of three Google Suite tiers. Google’s “Basic” plan costs $6 a month per user with no minimum number of users. There is also a “Business” plan ($12) and “Enterprise” plan ($25), all of which include access to Google Meet.
How Does Meet Pricing Compare?
Skype only charges when you wish to call a mobile device or landline. It offers unlimited minutes to any landline or mobile phone for $2.99 a month. Otherwise, video/message/text chats are all free.
Zoom offers four sets of plans including a free Tier. The free tier allows up to 100 participants, though video calls are limited to just 40 minutes. Zoom’s additional price points of $14.99 and $19.99 per month are good for one host each.
Google Meet’s new free plan enables 100 users to video chat for up to 60 minutes, which is slightly better than Zoom. Google’s paid plans also become more attractive when you factor in the additional Google Drive storage and other GSuite features.
Meet Versus Zoom
Zoom is the reigning darling of the video conferencing world, even with all of its security problems. Invitees to a Zoom meeting do not need a Zoom account, whereas Google Meet requires a Google account. That means anyone clicking on a Zoom link can go right into the call. Google users will need to have a Google account to join or host a call. Like Google Meet, Zoom also allows users to invite others to meetings. Neither service requires a paid account to start a meeting. Both apps are also available on a slew of platforms including smartphones and Windows and Mac computers.
Ultimately, Zoom takes less effort to join overall. It allows up to 500 users on a call at a single time with up to 49 displayed at once. Meet allows up to 250 participants on a single video conference but only 16 users can be displayed. That’s a major leg up for Zoom. Meet also feels less intuitive to use with a semi-messy dashboard, while Zoom feels cleaner and more polished. Both applications allow you to share images, files and documents through the chat box during any meeting.
Features and usability-wise, Zoom likely takes the prize as the better of the two video conferencing applications.
Meet Versus Skype
Like Zoom, Skype also fights Google Meet head on thanks to its excellent free account option. While the best features of Zoom and Google Meet require paid accounts, Skype offers up the majority of its services with zero payment. That’s far different from Meet which requires you to subscribe to its “Basic” service for anything beyond video calls.
Both services allow you to share videos, documents, images and participate in group chats. Like Meet, Skype is also available across Windows, iOS, Android and Mac. Skype only enables support for up to 50 people at a time on a call while Meet adds support for up to 250. You can share your screen on both services. Meet does offer closed captioning as part of its services, something Skype does not support.
Meet and Skype easily integrate with Outlook for added functionality. Both services allow video calls to be recorded and accessed for up to 30 days. Even with a higher price tag, this race is pretty close. That you can access just about every Skype feature for free gives it a significant leg up. However, the low cost of Google Meet comes with so many extras that it’s hard to ignore. In the end, unless you have a large built-in group of friends or colleagues already on Skype, Google Meet is worth a look.
Even as competitors like Zoom and Skype offer plenty of value, Google Meet remains a giant in the space. While there are some minor differences between the three video conferencing tools, all of them are very competent tools and have no issues meeting your needs. Regardless of which video conference tool you are using, make sure you follow these tips when you are video conferencing at home.
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