Zoom’s popularity pretty much exploded since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, with the video conferencing app reaching 300 million daily users this month. Microsoft Teams is also seeing increased usage since March, with Microsoft recently announcing 44 million daily active users.
Google, which is also competing with Zoom, Microsoft Teams and others in the video conferencing space must certainly be feeling the heat. Indeed, the company announced this morning that Meet, its premium video conferencing app, would become free to use for everyone with a Google account.
"Since January, we’ve seen Meet’s peak daily usage grow by 30x. As of this month, Meet is hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding roughly 3 million new users every day. And as of last week, Meet’s daily meeting participants surpassed 100 million,“ said Javier Soltero, the former Outlook and Cortana boss who is now the head of Google's G Suite.
Google Meet is currently available on the web, iOS and Android, and Soltero emphasized that the app respects your privacy. "Your Meet data is not used for advertising, and we don't sell your data to third parties,” the exec said.
This free version of Google Meet will support up to 100 participants, matching what Zoom currently offers with its free tier. However, Google will beat Zoom’s 40 mins limit on group meetings by imposing no duration limit until September 30th, when meetings will be limited to 60 minutes.
Google will start opening up Meet to all users starting next week, and you can already sign up with your Google account to be notified when the app is available for you. In case you missed it, Facebook also announced its new Messenger Rooms last week which will support real-time video chat with up to 50 people, so it's clear that the biggest tech companies won't allow Zoom to keep dominating the videoconferencing space.