Google Meet, Google’s video conferencing tool, helped millions of people stay in touch with each other during the first year of the pandemic, competing with other video apps like Zoom. And as some companies expand work from home options, video conferencing has become vital for some careers. Google Meet, which is being combined with Google Duo, offers enough tools to be placed alongside other major video apps, but there are areas for improvement.
Google Meet is easy to set up with a Google account and lets you have meetings within other Google applications, but some features, like closed captioning, could be improved on.
Google Meet plans
Google Meet offers three plans; the basic, free account called Google Meet — which I’ll refer to as Google Meet Free to avoid confusion — Google Workspace Individual and Google Workspace Enterprise.
Meetings with a Google Meet Free account allow up to 100 people to be in a meeting, but the meeting is limited to one hour. You can also share your screen and change your background, but those are the only notable features. Other features, like recording your meetings, require paid plans. Meet Free doesn’t support dial-in phone numbers, either. That means if you are out and don’t have your laptop, you might have to download the Google Meet app on your phone and use your phone data to join the call.
Google Meet Free offers bare-bones customer support. Meet Free describes its customer support as “Self-help online and community forums,” which I interpreted to mean, “You’re on your own.”
You get 15GB of Google Drive storage with each account, which is the same space a free Gmail account comes with. If you have a Google One subscription, Google Meet’s plans won’t add more space to your Google Drive. Security features include encrypted meeting data, 10-character meeting codes to prevent random people from joining your meeting, and two-step verification options. This plan would be best for anyone who wants to video chat with friends or family, or students working on small projects for class.
Google Workspace Individual is where Google Meet starts to feel like a viable option for video conferencing. Meetings have a maximum time of 24 hours and support 100 people. You can create breakout rooms, polls for attendees in the chat and record your meetings to reference later.
Online customer support is available 24/7, but in English only. Unlike the free tier, Google Workspace Individual supports dial-in phone numbers. You get the same Google Drive space and security features as Google Meet Free.
The additional features — like breakout rooms and meeting recordings — make this plan beneficial to smaller businesses or professionals who might have to video chat with a larger clientele. This plan costs $8 a month, but Google notes the price of this plan will increase to $10 a month in October.
Google Workspace Enterprise offers the same features as the other plans, but you can host video chats with up to 500 people, hold Q&A sessions, get meeting attendance reports, and live stream your meeting to 100,000 viewers within your organization or school.
You get previously mentioned security and privacy features, plus a security dashboard, 24/7 priority customer support, a designated Google adviser for your customer support needs and more. You also get unlimited Google Drive storage.
Google doesn’t list a price for this plan, so you’ll have to contact Google’s sales department to get an estimate. This is fairly common for enterprise plans.