According to the CDC, businesses and classrooms may need to transition to a work-from-home or telecommuting system to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In order to encourage this transition, Microsoft is offering Teams for free, and Google is opening advanced Hangouts Meet features to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers.
Of the two companies, Microsoft’s Coronoavirus game plan is the most cut-and-dry. The company is offering a 6-moth free trial of the premium version of Microsoft Teams, globally, with no strings attached. When you go to sign up for this premium trial, you’ll be asked to work with a Microsoft partner or employee to help get everything up and running. This trial includes all premium Teams features, including Office 365, cloud storage, 10,000-person online meetings, and the Teams chat client.
Starting March 10th, Microsoft will also push out an update for the free version of Teams. This update will remove restrictions on how many users can join a team, and open video call and conference features to users. We’re not sure how long these extra features will be available in the free tier of Teams.
Advanced G Suite video-conferencing features, on the other hand, won’t be totally free. Google is simply offering these features to existing G Suite and G Suite for Education customers. This means that, at a minimum of $6 a month, you’ll be able to host meetings with 250 participants, live stream to 100,000 viewers within a domain, and record meetings to Google Drive. Google plans to keep these capabilities open to all G Suite customers across the globe until July 1st, 2020.
Google and Microsoft are clearly making an important gesture here, and we hope that other tech companies will follow suit. If you’re signing up for Microsoft Teams or G Suite today, be sure to check out our sister site, How-To Geek, for some Microsoft Teams and G Suite guides.