Owing to an increase in video conferences amid lockdown, Google on April 30 made its premium video conferencing product, Google Meet free for all users. The California based tech giant also revealed that it had accelerated the release of all top requested features of the product. Until now, Google Meet was only available to G Suite customers.
“Starting in early May, anyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and enjoy many of the same features available to our business and education users, such as simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to your preference, including an expanded tiled view”, Google wrote on its website.
According to reports, the availability of the product would be rolled out in the coming few weeks. Elaborating further, it will continue expanding its availability across different regions, meanwhile, people could sign up to get notified when it would be available to them. Google Meet could be used by groups, teams, businesses schools, etc. Making the app free would also allow for a broadcast call for everyone to join.
Google Meet has started rolling out an updated version to compete with the growing popularity of Zoom calls amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In the major feature upgrade, Google Meet has expanded the tiled layout which now let 16 participants appear on the screen simultaneously, which previously enabled only four people to feature on the layout. The company has also indicated that more updates will be rolled out for larger meetings, better presentation layouts, and support across more devices.
The other major update is the Low-light mode which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automatically adjust the video to make users more visible to other participants in sub-optimal lighting conditions. However, the feature has currently been made available for only mobile users and will be available to web users in the future.