Google Meet: What it is and how it works
Google Meet is a video conferencing service created by Big G, immediate but very powerful. On the internet we often talked about videoconferencing services during the lockdown for the pandemic, we have dedicated a study to the best services.
Google has developed a good video calling experience, first with the launch of Hangout and then of Google Duo. The first one has evolved to become Hangout Meet, and then only Meet, a professional video conferencing solution, Duo has become its counterpart for group calls with friends.
In short, Google has decided to offer different services based on the type of users and optimized tailored to their needs.
What is Google Meet
As mentioned above, Google Meet is an excellent and powerful one cloud video conferencing service, which completes the G-suite. The G-suite is a collection of advanced tools that Google offers (for a fee) to companies or institutions.
The Google Suite is a group of services that consists not only of Meet but also of:
- Google Docs, the group of cloud office programs, advanced and collaborative;
- Google Drive, 30 GB are included with the basic plan and space is unlimited with the other plans;
- a version dedicated to GMail businesses, without ads and with the possibility of using email with a personalized domain;
- collaborative notes by Keep;
- Google Calendar for business version and more.
Until September 30, 2020, Google Meet is available for free with no limits for everyone. Google, based on the evolution of the global pandemic, may decide to extend this term.
What are the features of Google Meet?
Google Meet as Webex, Jitsi, as Zoom would like to be, is a professional video conferencing tool. Its strength lies in being a cloud service, therefore no client on the desktop is needed to start and participate in conferences, the client is only necessary for use on mobile, and is available for Android and iOS (the system of iPhone and iPad).
As such it allows:
- to have extended meetings with up to a maximum of 250 participants;
- to be able to share your desktop, individual windows, and files;
- the administrator to be able to silence and kick out any harassing participants.
Also, everything is integrated with other Google services, so collaborative editing, sharing of contacts and notes, and much more is possible.
Google Meet: the costs
To date, its use is free, Google, given the pandemic period, is trying to impose its video conferencing product. Previously, the use was free for non-profit organizations and, since the start of the lockdowns, it has also been made free for schools.
In any case, there is no Google Meet plan, the service could only be used through one of the floors for the G-suite to which it belongs. There are three, the basic one starts from € 4.68 per month.
It was not the cheapest solution for video calls, but the price for all the services of the suite is fairly fair, so much so that the solution was chosen by multiple companies especially during the smart working period.
Prerequisites for using Google Meet
If you have a user of the company G-suite, to access the Meet service you must request authorization from your administrator (there is a specific option in his administrative console).
To use the service, a device with a supported operating system must be available:
- Chrome OS;
- Ubuntu and other Linux distributions based on Debian;
- Android (through the appropriate app, to be downloaded from Play Store);
- iOS and iPadOS (via the client, to be downloaded from App Store).
On desktop systems, listed above with the numbers from 1 to 4, the service is supported on the following programs to navigate (browser):
- Mozilla Firefox;
- Microsoft Edge;
- Apple Safari.
In addition to the software requirements, you also need hardware to use the service, specifically:
Sign up for Google Meet
The beauty of the service is that no need to register for a Google Meet account. To start using the service just go to This Page and log in with your Google account.
If you do not have a Google account, you can do so by registering a new one that can also be used as a Gmail email address. If you own an Android smartphone surely you already have a Google account as it is usually used for the first configuration of the device.
How to join a meeting
You can participate in a meeting on Google Meet even without a Google account, as no registration is needed, just click on the invitation via the link provided by the administrator and you can join the video conference.
Or you can join a video conference even by going to the service site and entering the code of the same in the appropriate box and clicking on the button “Participate“.
On a mobile device just download the app for Android or iOS and then press on the invitation link. Or open the app, press on meeting code, enter the code that has been provided to us and press the “Participate“.
Even from Gmail, you can now participate in a meeting, just enter your Gmail email, and, in the bar on the left of the screen, there will be the new section “Meet“. Here you can click on the item “Join meeting“, Enter the code and finally click on the button”Participate“.
How to start a meeting
Starting a meeting on Google Meet is simple, on desktop systems you can connect to the service page and click on the green button “Start meeting“. Then the browser will ask us if it can have access to the webcam and click on “Allow” To be able to use it in video meetings.
On mobile just start the Meet app and click on “New meeting“, Then you can share the link with our participants. The room code can be obtained by simply going to the card identified by the circular icon with an “i” inside.
On desktop just go to the site and press the button “Start a meeting“, Then you will have the link to share.
Always on desktop, you can also start a call using Gmail, just enter the Gmail page and in the bar on the left of the screen, there will be the new section “Meet“. Here you can click on the item “Join meeting“, Enter the code and finally click on the button”Start meeting“.
The Google Meet interface
The interface is really simple and effective, if you have ever used a video chat program you will certainly be at ease, at the center, there are people connected with you on video.
At the top right there are the buttons to manage the participants (and invite them), to send text messages and finally a small corner where you can always see yourself.
Below from left to right, we meet:
- the pulsating “Meeting details” From which you can get the link to invite new people;
- the button to activate or deactivate the microphone;
- the one with the red handset to end the call;
- the one with the icon of a video camera to activate or deactivate the Webcam;
- the “Present” button which allows other participants to view windows or our entire screen;
- Finally, there is the menu button which is characterized by three dots, inside there are various very useful options such as that to change the layout (therefore the arrangement of the meeting participants on our screen) and to activate the automatic subtitles.