In an effort to tackle Zoom’s lockdown dominance and at the same time help people during the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis, Google today announced that its premium videoconferencing solution, dubbed Meet, will be free to anyone starting in the next few weeks.

Anyone with a Google account will be able to use Meet at no charge through September 30, 2020. Google Meet is normally available to paying G-Suite members so this is great news for those looking for a capable videoconferencing software that doesn’t violate privacy.

This is going to be a gradual rollout, the search monster announced, so best thing you head over to the official website and sign up to be notified when it’s available.

From the announcement:

Starting in early May, anyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and enjoy many of the same features available to our business and education users, such as simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions and layouts that adapt to your preference, including an expanded tiled view.

Google Meets has an iOS app, an Android app and a web app.

It supports group video calling between up to up to 100 participants and includes the ability to share your screen with other participants, schedule meetings and join meetings from the web or via the mobile app. One-click calling with Google Calendar integration is included, too.

In terms of privacy, Meet protects your video conferences with encryption in transit, but not at rest. As for recordings of your video chats stored in Google Drive, these are encrypted in both transit and at rest. Google says Meet provides a strong set of host controls, “such as the ability to admit or deny entry to a meeting and mute or remove participants” where needed.

Unlike Zoom, anonymous users without a Google account cannot join meetings as Google is using complex meeting codes for verification that it claims are resilient to brute-force attacks.

After September 2020, Meet will still be free to use but with some constraints for non-paying customers, such as limiting videoconferencing for free accounts to 60 minutes per month (that limit is being temporarily lifted for everyone during the promotional period).

Despite using Google’s proprietary protocols for video, audio and data transcoding, Meet is interoperable with standards-based SIP/H.323 protocols to enable communications between it and other videoconferencing solutions out there.

Download the free Google Meet app from the App Store.

Will you be switching from Zoom to Meet?

Let us know in the comments down below!