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Google Meet is now free: Here are 7 key features of Zoom alternative

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, a majority of companies across the world are urging their employees to work from home. This new trend has resulted in heavy demand in the video conferencing tools as this is an efficient way to stay connected with staff while they work remotely. To catch up on the trend, Google came up with Google Meet, which is a video conferencing app and a business version of Hangouts.

Google Meet is ideal for businesses of any size and is integrated with G Suite versions of Gmail and Google Calendar. The Google Meet service shows the complete list of participants and lets users scheduled meetings in advance.

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Recently, Google announced that Google Meet will be free for users until September 30, 2020. Previously, it was available only for the paid customers of G Suite. While anyone could join a meeting, it was mandatory to have a G Suite membership to host a meeting. As the service is made free for a limited time period, anyone can host meetings with up to 100 participants for up to 60 minutes.

This announcement comes at a time when Zoom, which has become a household name during the COVID-19 lockdown across the world. Having said that, here we list the key Google Meet features that make it is an efficient Zoom alternative.

Picture credits: Google Meet

#1 Tiled layout to support up to 16 users

The expanded tiled layout of Google Meet supports up to 16 participants simultaneously. Previously, the tiled layout supported only up to four participants at a time. Furthermore, Google has revealed that it will add additional video layout options and support larger meetings with more participants soon. As of now, this expanded 4 x 4 tiled layout is applicable only on the web client and is expected to bring the support to other devices and clients soon.

Stock photo from Graphic farm/Shutterstock

#2 Ability to share high-quality video with audio

The next notable feature is that Google has added the ability for users to share high-quality videos with audio but in a different way. Instead of letting users share an app or the whole desktop, Google Meet supports sharing a single Chrome tag. This feature is touted to provide a better user experience for remote viewers. The service is already rolling out the support for the ‘present a Chrome tab’ feature.

Stock photo from M.Moira/Shutterstock

#3 Low-light support

Google Meet has added a low-light mode to its mobile version. This mode brightens the video of the users if there is not enough ambient lighting. Google claims that it will roll out the low-light mode to the web version of the video conferencing app.

Stock photo from magic pictures/Shutterstock

#4 Background noise cancellation

There is intelligent background noise cancellation that lets Google Meet users eliminate unwanted background noise during their conversation. This way, you can limit interruptions such as keystrokes or dog barking sound. Initially, it will be rolled out to the web version and later will be extended to the mobile version.

Picture credits: Google Meet

#5 Privacy feature to avoid hijacking meeting IDs

Google Meet employs an array of counter-abuse protections that keep your meetings safe. There are anti-hijacking measures for both dial-ins and web meetings. These make it difficult for individuals to guess the ID of a meeting and make an unauthorised attempt to join it. This is done by using codes of 10 characters. And, there is a limit wherein external participants cannot join a meeting more than 15 minutes in advance.

Stock photo from Julia Tim/Shutterstock

#6 Two-step verification process

To make sure only authorised users to administer and access Google Meet, the video conferencing tool supports multiple two-step verification options for accounts that are convenient and secure. This includes phone-based and hardware security keys and Google prompt. Google Meet users can also enroll their account in the Advanced Protection Program (APP) that provides strongest protections against phishing and account hijacking. This is meant to protect the highest-risk accounts.

Stock photo from Alfa Photo/Shutterstock

#7 Encryption enabled by default

Google Meet data is encrypted by default thereby protecting the video meetings between the client and Google on both web and Android and iOS apps. Google Meet generates a unique encryption key that lasts as long as the meeting lasts. This encryption key is never stored to disk and is transmitted via a secured and encrypted RPC (Remote Procedure Call).

Main image picture credits: Google Meet

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