Google Meet is the current name for Google's most popular video conferencing solution. While the name and branding has changed a lot of the years, the functionality has remained pretty solid, with great G-Suite compatibility. It does suffer the occasion connectivity problem, along with questionable audio and video quality. But with a free version offering 60-minute meetings, you could do a lot worse than Google Meet.
Google Meet is the web conferencing solution developed by Google that allows you to schedule, host, and manage video meetings for personal and professional use.
With the pandemic in full swing, the importance of a good video conferencing platform cannot be understated. Whether you're working from home or trying to stay in touch with your friends, the right platform can make a big difference – and Google Meet is one of the best.
Initially released in 2017, Google Meet is one of the more popular video conferencing platforms available today, offering an intuitive interface that comes with unrivaled compatibility with other G-Suite platforms, such as Gmail and Google Calendar.
Google Meet offers three different pricing plans, the most notable of which is the surprisingly robust free plan. This allows for 100 participants for meetings of up to one hour – the longest free plan maximum in the industry.
In this guide, we're going to explain to you some of the features, pricing plans, pros, cons, and overall functionality of Google Meet, so you can decide whether or not this popular video conferencing platform is the right fit for your company. You can also grab a quick quote to join the thousands of businesses we've helped get set up with video conferencing software.
Is Google Meet Free?
Yes, Google Meet is free, but there are some obvious limitations. Free users of Google Meet can only host meetings with no more than 100 participants for a maximum of 60 minutes. They also won't have access to US or international dial-in numbers, live streaming in-domain, intelligent noise cancelling functionality, or the ability to save meeting recordings in Google Drive.
Still, Google Meet offers one of the more robust free plans on the market. You'll be able to host unlimited meetings, while having access to features like live captioning, adjustable layouts, and the intuitive mobile app. Plus, you'll still be able to easily share your screen and invite external participants that don't have a Google account.
Most conveniently, Google Meet allows you to join meetings through a browser – rather than having to download software like Zoom – so you can truly schedule and host a meeting in an instant.
Google Meet Pricing and Plans
Google Meet doesn't exclusively offer a free plan. You'll actually find three pricing plans available from Google for video conferencing.
Google Meet Free Plan
As we mentioned, the Free plan is quite robust, allowing for 100 participants and a maximum meeting time of 60 minutes. You'll get access to standard features like screen sharing and adjustable layouts, while enjoying the good enough audio and video quality.
Google Meet Workplace Essentials
The next available Google Meet pricing option is the Workplace Essentials plan, which is available for $8 per month per active user. This plan allows for 150 participants and a maximum meeting time of 300 hours, which we hope is supposed to be its version of “unlimited” rather than a challenge. You'll also get access to US and international dial-in numbers, as well as 24/7 online customer support and the online forums.
Google Meet Workplace Enterprise
Google Meet's enterprise-level solution is the Workplace Enterprise plan. This plan will allow you up to 250 meeting participants, again for a maximum of 300 hours. Features included in this plan include meeting recordings saved with Google Drive, intelligent noise cancelling, and live streaming in your domain for up to 100,000 viewers. You'll also unlock a wide range of security features, like investigations tools and endpoint management, to ensure your enterprise-level business is secure during meetings. No public pricing is available for this plan, so you'll have to contact Google sales for more information.
G-Suite for Business
Now, if you're looking for more than just a video conferencing app, all G-Suite subscriptions come with Google Meet, which will cost you either $6, $12, or $18 per month per user. In addition to Google Meet, you'll also have access to Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and all the Google Drive breakouts, including Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
Google Meet also offers some hardware bundles from partners like ASUS and Logitech, offering video cameras, microphones, and virtual assistant displays. These bundles can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on what you need, which we'll go into later on.
Google Meet Alternatives
Google Meet might be one of the more popular video conferencing solutions out there, but it's certainly not the only one. If you don't think Google Meet is the right fit for you, there are plenty of other options out there that will meet your needs
Google Meet vs GoToMeeting
GoToMeeting is our top pick for video conferencing overall, particularly if you're looking for a professional video conferencing solution. It offers some of the best audio and video quality on the market, as well as a reliable platform that experiences very few connectivity problems. Unfortunately, it offers no free plan, so it's definitely best for a business that uses video conferencing daily and will get the most out of it.
Check out our GoToMeeting review for more information
- Try GoToMeeting free for 14 days with a no-obligation trial
- High quality audio and video
- Very reliable and secure
- Lower cost than competitors
- Weak free plan
Google Meet vs Zoom
Zoom, for one, has captured the attention of the world since the start of the pandemic for its incredibly intuitive design, improved security measures, and fun features like virtual backgrounds. Admittedly, Zoom caters more to personal use than business operations, but it does offer some professional level plans that can get the job done if ease of use is your priority.
- Easy to use
- Broad functionality
- Free version available
- Poor audio quality
Google Meet vs Other Alternatives
Truly, there are a lot of Google Meet alternatives, and we've compared them all in our best video conferencing solutions guide. If you need a bit of information on each of them, take a look at the table below to compare prices, pros, and cons.
The lowest starting price for a paid plan. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Google Meet Features
Now that you know how Google Meet stacks up against its competitors, we can take a deeper dive into the features that you'll actually find on Google Meet. While it is missing some of the more “fun” features, like virtual backgrounds, Google Meet offers a wide range of intuitive features – and a few added extras – that should make your video chat experience simple and enjoyable.
Here are a few of the main features you'll find in the Google Meet platform:
- Adjustable layouts and screen settings
- Gallery view available for all users
- Video and audio preview screen before you join
- Meeting host controls, e.g. pin, mute, and remove participant
- Screen sharing for all participants
- Live chat functionality
- Integration with Google and Microsoft Office apps
One of the added features that you won't find in most other platforms is Google Meet's ability to provide live captioning in real-time. This allows hearing impaired users to enjoy the same experience as others, without slowing down the meeting. Google's advanced software makes it one of the few video conferencing solutions that provides this, and given Google's reputation, you can believe it's likely one of the best executed versions available today.
Ease of Use
While Google Meet certainly isn't the most comprehensive video conferencing solution available today, it's definitely considered an easy to use option compared to some other competitors. With an intuitive layout that makes for easy calls, simple invite instructions, and basic features built obviously into the interface, even beginners can figure out Google Meet pretty fast.
At the core of Google Meet's ease of use is its compatibility with other G-Suite platforms. Invites can be easily sent through Gmail, added to your Google Calendar, and joined through comprehensive event invites. There's even a handy Google Meet button that will allow you to join a meeting in an instant.
Simply put, if you use Google platforms like Calendar and Gmail, Google Meet will be a seamless addition to your day-to-day operations. And considering Gmail has more than 1.5 billion users worldwide, it's safe to say Google Meet might be a good option for you.
Given that Google Meet is part of the Google family of apps, it's safe to say that the platform is decidedly secure, particularly compared to other solutions run by smaller companies.
More specifically, Google Meet encrypts all data in transit by default, whether you're using a browser, the iOS or Android app, or meeting rooms powered by Google Meet hardware. Additionally, all meetings saved to Google Drive are encrypted at rest, so you can be sure all your information is safe and secure, no matter where it is.
To get even more specific and decidedly technical, Google Meet “adheres to Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) security standards for Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS) and Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP),” according to its website.
As you might imagine, Google Meet doesn't offer a very extensive support system for its free plan. All you're going to have access to as a free user is the Google Help Center, which houses an online forum of Google Meet users that you can talk to about any problems you might have. Additionally, you'll have access to a repository of online documentation, covering everything from how to start and join meetings to how Google Meet interacts with other products.
Now, if you're a paid user, that's a different story. G-Suite and Google Meet subscribers have access to 24/7 online support from Google representatives happy to help with any issue. And since it's Google, you know you'll be getting the attention and resources you need to solve your problem quickly and effectively. Plus, you'll still have access to the online forums, so you can do a little troubleshooting of your own with other users.
Google Meet Video Conferencing Hardware
While Google Meet is a decidedly popular video conferencing tool, Google doesn't offer branded video conferencing hardware solutions. However, if you go to their website, you will find a wide range of hardware bundles from other companies that can cater to all company and room sizes.
There are three hardware bundle kits from ASUS, which include microphones, speakers, remote controls, and computer systems, depending on which one you opt for. You'll be able to purchase a starter kit, or small and large room bundles, each specifically catered for your particular needs. The ASUS bundles are the least expensive option for video conferencing hardware from Google.
There are also three hardware bundle kits from Logitech, which also include microphones, speakers, remote controls, computer systems, and some mounting materials. You'll be able to purchase a small, medium, or large room bundle, which increases the number of cameras and microphones, as well as adding a handy display mount. Logitech bundles are the more expensive option for video conferencing hardware from Google.
Take a look at the pictures and pricing options below to get a better idea of what these bundles look like:
Google Meet Hardware Bundle by ASUS
$1,749 – $2,649
Google Meet Hardware Bundle by Logitech
$2,998.97 – $5,097.96
Google Meet vs Google Hangouts
The naming conventions for Google's video conferencing solutions have gotten quite confusing over the years. With brands and rebrands abound, keeping track of what the primary video chat solution is called – let alone what the differences are – has become a Herculean task for even the most adamant of fans.
The biggest point of confusion is the Google Meet versus Google Hangouts discussion. At first, Meet was considered the paid business video conferencing solution, whereas Google Hangouts was aimed at individuals looking to chat with friends and family. However, when the pandemic hit, Google decided to make Google Meet free for everyone, making the decision a bit easier.
The main differences come in the form of features. Google Meet offers gallery view, screen-sharing, real-time captioning, and up to 100 participants in a single meet, admittedly capped at one hour. Google Hangout, on the other hand, doesn't offer any of that, and only allows for 10 people in a single meeting, although 150 can join in on the text chat functionality.
Given the obvious discrepancy in offerings, Google is expected to scrap Hangouts in favor of Meet any day now. But for the time being, Hangouts still exists as a decidedly less attractive version of Meet.
Google Meet vs Google Classroom
As you might've guessed from the name, Classroom is Google's remote learning solution for students. With the pandemic still in full force and many schools employing only virtual lessons, Google Classroom allows for a seamless experience. It allows students to access classes, assignments, and collaboration tools, so students and teachers can work together for easier learning.
Naturally, Google Classroom is not a video conferencing platform. Fortunately, due to the compatibility between G-Suite platforms, it's incredibly easy to set up a Google Meet meeting in Classroom. All you have to do is click on the class that you wish to start a meeting in, and select the “Generate Meet link” button. This will create a meeting, which you can share with students easily.
It's that simple! Google Classroom is available on iOS and Android to schools, non-profits, and Google account users for free, so feel free to take advantage if you need to improve your remote learning experience.
Google Meet vs Google Duo
Seriously, the Google video conferencing solution naming situation is an actual disaster. Duo is another Google-branded video chat option, bringing the total to three.
Much like Google Hangouts, Duo is aimed at personal video chats rather than business meetings. Connected directly to your personal device with a phone number, Duo acts as more of an iMessage competitor than a Google Meet clone, creating connected networks between friends rather than a simple meeting solution.
Google Duo, like Hangouts, has limited features compared to Meet. You only get 12 participants per meeting, and features like screen share, meeting records, and email integration do not exist, so really, Meet is the only option you should be looking at for video conferencing at this point.
Should I Use Google Meet for Business Calls?
Now, the real question: Is Google Meet good for your business? In our opinion, Google Meet is absolutely a solid option when it comes to video conferencing. The intuitive design makes it easy for everyone, no matter their experience level, and the solid feature list will be able to handle almost any business's requirements. Plus, the robust free plan is attractive enough to make anyone consider Google Meet.
However, from a business perspective, there are certainly paid business alternatives that are more robust. Audio and video quality leave a lot to be desired for Google Meet, and connectivity problems are consistently an issue for users. Still, with unmatched G-Suite compatibility, Google Meet cannot be counted out as a good option.
If you're interested in finding out how much Google Meet or other video conferencing options might cost your business, take advantage of our simple quote comparison form to receive and compare accurate, tailored prices in minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you use Google Meet?
Fortunately, Google Meet is one of the easier video conferencing solutions to use on the market, so this shouldn't be too difficult.
First, there's no need to download any software; just go to the Google Meet website (www.meet.google.com) to access your meeting. Once you click “New Meeting” or enter your meeting code, you'll be instructed to choose a Google account to enter with. If you don't have one, that's all right, but you will be required to request entrance to the meeting, rather than just jumping in.
Once you've done that, you'll be ready and raring to start your meeting. Just make sure your video is streaming and your microphone is unmuted, so you can actually participate.
How much does Google Meet cost?
Google Meet offers a free plan that is quite robust, but also offers a few paid options with more advanced features. The Workplace Essentials plan will cost you $8 per user per month, while the Workplace Enterprise plan doesn't offer public pricing options; you'll have to contact Google instead.
Additionally, Google Meet is included in G-Suite pricing, which is available in three different plans. The Business Starter plan costs $6 per user per month, the Business Standard plan will cost $12 per user per month, and the Business Plus plan will cost $18 per user per month.
How long does a Google Meet link last?
Creating a Google Meet link is how you share your meetings with other participants. These links can be used and reused as you see fit. However, if you haven't used a Google Meet link in 90 days, the link will expire and users will not be able to attend meetings with it any more.
How secure is Google Meet?
Google Meet is decidedly secure compared to most of its competitors. With encryption in transit and at rest, as well as two-step authentication and Advanced Protection Program Enrollment for all plans, you can be pretty sure that your meeting will be secure.
Is there a Google Meet app?
Yes, there is a Google Meet app for iOS and Android. It allows you access all of the same functionality as the browser version of Google Meet, including screen sharing, gallery view, and even live captioning functionality.
Who can record a Google Meet?
Meeting organizers and members of the same team as the meeting organizer can take advantage of Google Meet's meeting recordings feature. Once you've started a meeting, all you have to do is click the settings button in the bottom right corner, and click “record meeting.”
However, this feature is only available with paid plans, so you'll need to shell out a few bucks per month to get access to this feature. Plus, Google notes that it may be illegal to record without the consent of meeting participants, so make sure to do that ahead of time.
Can I turn off chat in Google Meet?
It is possible, but not within an actual Google Meet meeting. To disable chat in Google Meet, you'll have to go to the Settings section of your Gmail account. Once there, you'll find the Chat and Meet tab at the top – which will allow you to turn the Chat function off in Hangouts – and the Hide the Meet section, which will do away with the chat function in the app.
Tech.co is reader-supported. Using Tech.co's comparison form, you can receive quotes from various suppliers, tailored to the needs of your business. If you enter into a contract with a provider, we may receive a payment for the introduction. Equally, if you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Tech.co to provide free advice and reviews. It carries no additional cost to you, and doesn’t affect our editorial independence.