Google, announced on Wednesday that any user will soon be able to host free video conferences on the (Meet) application, which turns companies’ business tool from Google into the biggest competitor and other applications seeking to exploit the Coronavirus outbreak to control the video chat market.
Companies like Zoom, Microsoft and Facebook provided video chat services this month to attract users after the spread of the Coronavirus prevented people from going out to socialize with friends and family.
But the “Meet” application, which includes 100 million users a day, required a commercial or educational account to make calls. Although Google has long offered free versions of its business tools including Gmail and Google Docs, it did not provide the “Meet” service for free, which was launched three years ago.
The company will gradually open the “Meet” application in the coming weeks, and users can subscribe by entering the service’s website.
Zoom shares fell by about 7% yesterday, Wednesday, after Google announced its entry into the video chatting market. And Zoom shares had decreased by 3% a few days earlier when Facebook announced the service of “Rooms” from Messenger.
Google provided the “Hang Out” service for free video chats for nearly 12 years, but its popularity has dwindled dramatically in recent years due to security issues and outdated technology. The company also owns the Du app(Duo) is a video call app that can be accessed via smartphones.
Smita Hashem, director of product management at Google, said in an interview that the company recommends consumers to use “Meet” instead “Hang Outs”.
She stated, “Since Covid-19 affected everyone’s life, we felt that there was a strong reason to bring a product that was designed for business only for everyone to benefit from. It is a modern product, safer and more reliable.
Meet calls pass through Google’s servers, enabling them to provide automated comments, troubleshoot issues, and comply with legal orders to share user data. But consumer calls will not be stored. Companies and schools will have exclusive access to meeting records and other options.
Although Google is returning from many of its free services by placing ads in it or collecting data about users ’behavior to customize ads, this will not apply to“ Meet”, says Hashem.
The Director of Product Management said that Google’s cloud services unit – which developed the “Meet” application – does not use commercial customer data for advertising purposes, and this is what will apply to other users.
But the duration of the call in the free “Meet” application will be only an hour starting from next October, there is no specific period on the Skype and Messenger applications. “Meet” free calls will also be limited to one host and one hundred participants, which is the same number in the free version of Zoom, but more than the number on Skype and Messenger.
Google aims to deter bad behavior by requiring all participants in the consumer version of the “Meet” application to log in with a Google account. Hashem said that the names of the participants and their profile pictures will be visible on the calls, but their email addresses will not be shared.