Google Meet, the company’s business-level video conferencing service, is now free for anyone with a Google account. Normally you’d have to subscribe to G Suite to use Google Meet, but over the coming weeks, Google is removing that barrier.
Google announced the change in a blog post today and explained that while the service is free effectively today, it would roll out to users over the coming weeks. Google says it wants to keep the service secure and reliable, and that’s the reason for the slow rollout. Preventing an overwhelming surge that brings down Google Meet does seem like a good idea.
With Google Meet, you can video chat with up to 100 people simultaneously, with 16 of them showing in a tiled view. And Google doesn’t use your Google Meet data for advertising purposes. With the free rollout, uses will have an unlimited talk time, but Google does say it will restrict that to 60 minutes after September 30th.
Since this is a staged rollout, you may not have free access to Meet right away. Google set up a signup page if you want a notification as soon as you can access the service. And in the meantime, it might be handy to familiarize yourself with Meet’s keyboard shortcuts.