Zoom meetings are very popular, but the free, personal meeting plans have a 40-minute time limit. Microsoft has introduced a free Zoom alternative called “Meet Now,” which supports up to 50 users, unlimited calls and no time limits. If you’re a meeting organizer, Meet Now only supports Windows 10, and you should have a Skype account. However, the recipients can easily attend the video conference on Android, iPhone, or Mac and don’t need a Skype account.
Here we show the detailed steps on how to initiate a Meet Now conference and collaborate with various attendees.
How to Enable Meet Now in Windows 10
Only Windows 10 users can serve as meeting organizers in Meet Now. Check if the icon for Meet Now is prominently visible near the system tray. If not, you can enable it from the taskbar.
Right-click on the taskbar and go to “Taskbar settings.”
Once inside the notification area, scroll down to select an option: “Turn system icons on or off.”
You can easily turn on the Meet Now system icon.
Each time you boot or restart, The Meet Now icon should be prominently visible near the system tray. For many it’s an annoyance: you can keep the system icon for Meet Now disabled and launch it directly from Skype in Windows 10.
Go to the quick actions summary in your Skype desktop app, and you can easily start Meet Now conferences here.
Create a Skype Meeting in Meet Now
To create a Skype meeting in Meet Now, you can either manually activate the process from Skype or run it from the system tray. The following screen shows the first option where you have to press “Continue” to begin.
It’s very easy to set up a meeting in Skype for Meet Now. A meeting link is automatically created, and you only need to enter the meeting topic.
You can click “Skype contacts” and add them to the meeting.
Click “Share a link for others to join” to send the meeting invitation URL by email or text in the format join.skype.com/URL.
You can also schedule a Meet Now meeting in advance from the “Schedule a call” option. It is possible to send an optional video message for the recipients so that they feel familiar with you.
Skype Meet Now supports many ways to share the meeting requests: Gmail, Outlook, Facebook, your default Windows 10 email application, or by copying the link.
Once the meeting starts, you should be able to see your own presence in the room. Wait for others to join.
In the meantime, you can adjust the audio and video settings. If your room background isn’t very attractive, you can choose professional background effects. Test your microphone and speakers and resolve any issues in advance.
The ongoing meeting is clearly visible and can be minimized by closing the Meet Now window. This will not disconnect the call. You can keep the video-conference active for as long as you want, and don’t have to worry about meeting expiry.
Join a Skype Conversation in Meet Now (PC)
If you’re an attendee on a desktop system (Windows, Mac, Linux), you should receive the meeting request on an email. Click the meeting link to launch a browser window.
You will have to give Skype’s web tool the permission to use your PC microphone and speaker. Currently, Meet Now supports Edge and Chrome browsers only. You can easily join the meeting as a guest or else log in with your Skype account.
Next, you will see web notifications for Skype. Click “Allow” to be seen and heard on the call.
The meeting window at the recipient’s end looks different from the organizer’s. As soon as you join the call, the organizer will get an alert about your presence.
Join a Skype Conversation in Meet Now (Phone/Tablet)
You can easily attend Meet Now conferences on a smartphone or tablet. All you need is a browser to access the meeting. Check your email’s spam folders if the sender is unknown to you. Click the meeting URL.
Open the meeting URL on your favorite mobile browser.
If you have a Skype app and account, you can use it to access the meeting. Otherwise, “join conversation” as a guest, which is faster.
Is Meet Now a Worthy Zoom Alternative?
In terms of features, Meet Now compares well to Zoom. Both the organizer and the recipients can easily share their screens and can choose whether to restrict it to an application window or display the entire screen.
The organizer can put the meeting on hold during breaks and resume it afterward. The speakers can be muted easily. You can either turn the video conferencing icon on or keep it off for a voice call.
The attendees can raise their hands if they have a question or idea.
The meetings can be easily recorded and saved by the organizer.
Meet Now has a powerful feature called “Add subtitles,” which adds subtitles to voice and video calls in real time. This is quite useful if people have difficulty understanding your voice and accent.
You can easily remove any user from the Meet Now call at any point. Remember, they will receive a notification that they were “kicked out of the meeting,” which may sound a bit offensive, so it’s better to request the attendee leave politely.
As a Zoom alternative, Meet Now delivers well. We recommend it for those looking for free, unlimited, high-quality meetings. The only drawback is that you have to be a Windows 10 user to organize a meeting. The only Zoom feature not supported in Meet Now is an “online whiteboard,” which is a shared space for collaborating among multiple users. However, this feature is supported in Skype for Business.