The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many aspects of daily life, including how we work and communicate with colleagues and clients. In-person meetings are no longer practical or even possible, and businesses must adapt to the new virtual world. Fortunately, there are a number of video conferencing tools available to help businesses continue to function during these challenging times. One such tool is Google Meet, a free-to-use application that offers a range of features and functionality to small businesses.
Google Meet is a free video conferencing tool developed by Google. It was launched in 2017 as part of the Google Hangouts platform, and it has since evolved into a standalone product. Google Meet allows users to hold video meetings with people from all around the world, making it a popular choice for businesses of all sizes. The platform offers a range of features and functionality, including screen sharing, live closed captions, and real-time chat.
Google Meet is a browser-based application, which means that you don’t need to download any software to use it. You can access the platform from any device with a web browser, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Google Meet is also available as a native app for iOS and Android devices, making it easy to join and host meetings on the go.
One of the most recent updates to Google Meet is the ability to create meetings using Google Calendar. Previously, users could only create instant meetings, which made it difficult to plan ahead for virtual meetings. With the new update, users can set up meetings in advance and send invitations to attendees via email. This feature is particularly useful for businesses that need to schedule regular meetings with clients or colleagues.
To create a meeting using Google Calendar, simply open the Google Calendar app and click on the “Create” button. From there, you can enter the details of your meeting, including the date and time, and select “Add Google Meet video conferencing”. This will automatically generate a Google Meet link that you can share with attendees via email. Attendees can then click on the link to join the meeting at the scheduled time.
One of the biggest advantages of Google Meet is that it’s free-to-use. The basic plan provides a 1:1 meeting length of 24 hours and a group meeting length of an hour. You can host up to 100 participants in a meeting and set up an unlimited number of sessions for the price of nothing. The native mobile and tablet apps are also included in the free plan, making it accessible to businesses of all sizes.
Google Meet offers an easy-to-use and intuitive interface. The apps are particularly intuitive, and it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into their production. It’s easy to find Google Meet’s primary call features, and you’ll find the majority of controls at the bottom of your screen. The top right corner also offers further options that allow you to alter who you share your screen with during a session.
If you need more functionality than what’s offered in the free plan, Google Meet also offers a paid tier. For $7.99 per month, you’ll get everything in the first free tier, as well as 24-hour group meetings, recording capabilities, and intelligent noise cancellation. This is a great option for businesses that require longer meetings and want to record them for future reference. The noise cancellation feature is especially helpful for remote workers who need to participate in meetings from noisy environments.
If your business already uses Google Workspace, then Google Meet is a no-brainer. With Google Meet, you can easily schedule and join meetings from your Google Calendar. This means that you can quickly create and send meeting invites to all attendees, and they will receive email reminders with all the necessary information. Additionally, Google Meet integrates with other Google Workspace applications, such as Google Docs and Google Sheets, making it easy to collaborate with your team during meetings.
Google Meet is available on both desktop and mobile devices, making it easy to participate in meetings from anywhere. The mobile app offers all the same functionality as the desktop version, including the ability to share your screen and live closed captions in multiple languages. With the mobile app, you can easily join or start a meeting on-the-go, making it perfect for remote workers or businesses with employees who travel frequently.
While Google Meet is not without its faults, it generally offers reliable performance. Some users have reported browser-freezing issues, but these are often solvable by closing unnecessary programs running in the background. Overall, Google Meet is a great option for small businesses that need a reliable free video conferencing solution without breaking the bank.
While Google Meet has become a popular choice for businesses, there are other video conferencing tools in the market that offer similar features. Zoom, for example, has been around for a while and has gained a significant following due to its user-friendly interface and breakout room capabilities. Microsoft Teams is another option, particularly for businesses already using Microsoft Office Suite.
However, it's important to note that some of these options can come at a higher cost, particularly for businesses that require more advanced features. As such, it's important to carefully evaluate your business needs and compare the features and pricing of each option.
To learn more about the top video conferencing tools available in the market and how they compare to Google Meet, check out our comprehensive guide: "Best Video Meeting Software for Hybrid Teams".
In conclusion, Google Meet is an excellent option for small businesses that need a low-cost or free video conferencing solution. With the recent update allowing for scheduled meetings through Google Calendar, it’s now easier than ever to plan ahead and invite attendees. The paid tier offers additional functionality that can be beneficial for businesses that require longer meetings or recording capabilities. The interface is easy to use, and the mobile and desktop apps make it easy to participate in meetings from anywhere. If you’re in the market for a reliable free video conferencing solution, Google Meet is definitely worth considering.
I can attest to the effectiveness of Google Meet in my own digital marketing agency in the UK. For our internal and client meetings, the free version of Google Meet offers all the necessary features, including screen share options and the ability to plan ahead with Google Calendar. I highly recommend this free video conferencing tool for small businesses looking to streamline their virtual communication.