> Until now, Meet has only been available as part of G Suite, our collaboration and productivity solution for businesses, organizations and schools. Going forward, Meet will be available to anyone for free on the web at meet.google.com and via mobile apps for iOS or Android.
> Meetings are limited to 60 minutes for the free product, though we won’t enforce this time limit until after Sept. 30.
This is clearly stated as the intended policy at the launch of the free version. They temporarily lifted this restriction at launch due to COVID. They then delayed enforcing this restriction by ~9 months, because guessing the future of COVID was hard, especially in April 2020.
> Workspace Individual is available in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Japan and coming soon to Australia.
I'm a Fi customer with an iPhone, and when April of this year rolled around, I was living juuuust outside of cell service, thus relying heavily on Hangouts to forward SMS and provide voice calls.
Google was supposed to replace this with something called, I believe, Messages by Google. But somehow they didn't manage to release this for iPhone... like ever as far as I can tell? Or at least not so far.
So I was stranded without the ability to make voice calls for two months. Paying customer mind you.
To be fair, Fi was an amazing deal when I was doing a lot of international travel, and I've stuck with it because the pay-as-you go aspect is still pretty nice (and because international travel will presumably return someday).
But part of me wishes that after Reader was canceled I had just pronounced anathema on the whole company.
This is also the case for a corporate Gmail account.
At some point I accepted a clickthrough and Hangouts disappeared from my Gmail. I've been using it for years to stay in touch with my parents, now they still see Hangouts and can call me on it, but I have no way to initiate a call with them except by sending them a text chat with a link to a meet?! That's useless, it doesn't make a ringing sound on their end. Personal video calls are not corporate meetings!
I sort of defaulted to using Hangouts for a long time because I used to work on Gmail. The current state of things is embarrassing for Google - I have literally no idea how to do video calls with my parents using Google products now (as they can last longer than an hour and we don't set a fixed time for them, just a date). There's this thing called Duo but it's mobile only, or at least tied to mobiles, but my parents use their computer to do video calls so I don't know what to tell them to do.
I'll probably just look for some alternative. Maybe Skype still exists and works well? Does anyone have any recommendations?
Of course with Teams and now Facetime essentially free (as long as at least on in the group has an iPad, iPhone or Mac) I doubt it will make that much of a difference.
due to Zoom. Covid was just a pretext. Google aggressively pushed Meet everywhere because Zoom posed a threat to them.
Whereby does it…
It is difficult to scale a pure p2p model to multiple participants. Each participant would need to create multiple WebRTC streams, one for each participant. So if some call has 10 participants, each one of them would need to broadcast 9 streams and receive 9 streams with the assumption that each one of them have their microphone and cameras turned on. This would consume a lot of CPU and bandwidth. There are alternate models where you send your stream to a central server, and that server distributes the stream to other participants. This reduces the CPU and bandwidth required per participant, but requires a central server. This looks like the model google follows. So I don't think keeping such a service unauthenticated would be a good idea.
The secretary made sure to keep the discussion on-topic and that we stuck to the times. If an item needed more discussion, we'd either have a breakout meeting or add it to the agenda of the next meeting (in the front of the queue).
This made meetings almost enjoyable, and is still the best meeting experience I've ever had.
Obviously the second has its exceptions, but for the general meeting where everyone is present, a question should be confined to something relevant to everyone at the meeting. Instead, what some people here is, "What would you personally like me to discuss with you?"
Its funny, as this advice is the opposite of the advice we got when doing engineering onboarding at Google in 2013. They told us that if we have a question in a meeting, go ahead and ask it. The reasoning is that its likely that many other people have the same question and will benefit from the answer, but were too shy to ask it themselves.
Different target audiences, I guess :)
I'd expect almost everything said in "engineering onboarding" to be equally relevant for all of an homogeneous group of new recruits who have the same questions and varying ideas about their importance and obviousness.
On the other hand a meeting in the Marines is likely to be about the respective orders and status reports of several people, with everybody having different problems that should be discussed individually.
We have this issue a lot with our standups.
The wording we've agreed on is "can I talk to anyone later about xxx?"
Where you agree to take something offline, but don't necessarily who to talk to it about or if it's appropriate to the whole group.
It's actually pretty weird thinking about how much time effort and sweat that was put in into coming up with those exact words.
"That is beyond the scope of this meeting."
"Let's take this offline."
"You need to talk to Dave."
- bonus if Dave knows nothing about it
- double bonus if Dave does not exist
AI (in Samuel L. Jackson's voice): "Legacy code motherf****r"
This could be awesome.
I am vary of BigCorpGoogleApple as much as the next HNer, but this seems fair to me.
Or perhaps my expectations were so low anticipating another product shut down ;)
"30% of our special ointment just for you!"
I'm not sure how you could sensibly guard against this behavior but it seems anticompetitive.
It was clear that Meet for individuals' limits were waived due to COVID-19. They have done an announcement about lifting the limits and even stated that it was originally slated to end at September 30 last year. I was a bit surprised they extended it though.
see FTC: https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/anticompetitive-practices
If Google wasn't dumping prices this way there would already be great alternative services that provide this, but it's hard for someone else to have a selling point when there's a huge conglomerate basically providing this service for free.
I would say generally I am happy where this is going. The more Google makes decisions like these the more opportunities there are for customers to learn what they are actually "paying" for and they would be more willing to give away money for a better service.
Microsoft even offers options through Skype (although it's limited to 100 people and the calls are limited to 4 hours), and Teams Personal accounts also allow free calls with similar limits.
Since these various services seem to be doing fine, it's hard to say there's a problem with competition in this space right now.
You actually have to sign out first. THEN you are given the option to exit the app. Before I discovered this, it was enough for me to uninstall the app. I have no idea why you'd make it this hard to just exit an app.
(My son uses it to talk to his friends across the world, and for him it works great; that's why I opened with "it's all good and fun".)
Overall its probably one of Google's best products IMO. It has enough functionality to be useful, but in general just gets out of your way and lets you get on with talking to people.
It's open-source, you don't need to sign-in, and in my experience it survives bad connections better than Google Meet.
We were hoping to have some of the Meet features to filter out background noise, but our old Google Business account is grandfathered in as free, but doesn't get those upgrades apparently.
(Please no hate, I'm just being practical - high value conversation can happen in the final minutes and if participants aren't running off to another meeting, then it's best to just give them a few extra minutes)
If you try this with Google, at least when we used it, it didn't have multi-display: You could only see the "main group" talking, which might be someone laughing or ruffling a bag of crisps. Furthermore, the sound quality was straight up worse than Zoom, borderline inaudible with the same equipment Zoom gets.
At the beginning of 2020, I agree with you that Google Meet was a pile of hot garbage.
It got drastically better at everything you mentioned throughout 2020 (when I assume people at Google had to actually start using it regularly).
On Chrome on Windows. Otherwise it turns on the jet engine mode on laptop cooling / energy consumption.
In fact, of the video conference systems I have used at work, Google Meet is the only one that works perfectly on Firefox, without having to use Chromium or even a dedicated flatpak package.
> During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the use of Meet grew by a factor of 30 between January and April 2020, with 100 million users a day accessing Meet, compared to 200 million daily uses for Zoom as of the last week of April 2020.
Over here I've seen schools going from zero online infrastructure to using Google Classroom in a week. Teachers and students started using Meet since there was nothing in place before.
I can't really imagine millions of businesses suddenly jumping onto G Suite. They just scaled up their existing collaborating tools, and Office 365 with Teams is absolutely killing it among SMBs.
For personal video calls it's Zoom, WhatsApp video or Facetime.
I agree with others in this thread, however, that Meet is quite popular in US otherwise. I guess it's because pretty much everyone here has a GMail account, and it's super easy to get everyone join the meeting without any hassle.
It is one of Googles better products, but for all we know Google Meet and Teams could be the same product with a different skin. They work very similar, have mostly the same features and work much the same.
In our case we use Meet for around 95% of day to day calls. Zoom for more conference style calls.
We have a diverse mix of operating systems, and it least in my experience Meet is the one that works best in browsers by far. Especially since you don't have to jump trough hoops actually using the browser version.
On almost every two person Meet call one of us would have some kind of technical issue. Not working with the correct mic, video not working until the browser was restarted, etc.
Does the time limit really save Google much bandwidth/cpu/money?
Is this just to prevent people who use it as a baby monitor? Or perhaps the limit is just to persuade people to start paying for Google Apps for your Worksuite?
A lot of people will pay $$$ to avoid needing something different for that 1% of their needs - just like people will choose a 300-mile-range electric car when 99% of their journeys are <100 miles.
I'd say this is the case. Individuals might work around the limit, but companies will be persuaded to pay even if most meetings are under 1h.
Now that it proved useful for some people, people are expecting that it will stay the way it made it useful.
But it will not, limited free calls means less usage, and Google will eventually shut it down.
It's funny that a company with unlimited resources can't be successful in creating something that is basically a commodity and a solved problem.