Zoom Video Communications Inc (ZM.O), Microsoft Corp’s (MSFT.O) Skype and Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) Messenger have added new features this month to attract more users to its platform as people are in quarantined, seeking the best free options, with the best free features to connect with friends and family by online video. Many small companies are doing the same to cut costs.
Video chat are playing a very important role in our daily lives during this pandemic time, and Google is reacting to it, they now did a change to allow anyone with a free Google account to use it for free while you still have the account active.
Google did some changes last year by replacing Google Hangouts and separating the service into 2: Google Chat and Google Meet. Google Chat is for messaging application and Google Meet is a video chat application. In order to have Google Meet you needed a business or education subscription account. Now you only need the free Google Account to have it for free, you can get more info by clicking here.
“As COVID has impacted everyone’s lives, we felt there was a reason to bring something built for businesses first to everyone,” said Smita Hashim, referring to COVID-19. “It’s a more secure, reliable, modern product.” These were the words of Smita Hashim in an interview, which is the Director of Product Management at Google.
Google has confirmed that no customer data will be used for advertising even though Google Meet is being offered as a free service, and that the requirement of a Google account is for security reasons (only your name and profile image will be visible during calls). Meet will also continue to offer automatic captioning, but unlike the business and education versions, the free version will not allow meetings to be recorded. Other restrictions include a limit of one host and 100 participants.
Additionally, Meet will cut free calls after an hour starting in October, compared with no time limit on Facebook Messenger and Skype and a 40-minute restriction on consumer Zoom accounts.
Google is trying to stop bad behavior by requiring all participants of the consumer version of Meet to sign in with a Google account. Participants’ names and profile pictures will be visible on calls, but their email addresses will not be shared, Hashim said.
Zoom shares were down about 7% on Wednesday after Google’s announcement. Alphabet shares were up 9% and rivals Microsoft and Facebook up about 7%, all buoyed by Alphabet on Tuesday reporting first-quarter revenue that was better than investors had expected given the virus-hammered economy.
Google has provided free video conferencing for nearly 12 years through its Hangouts service, but it features outdated security and technology and its popularity has waned. The company also maintains Duo, a video calling app accessible only on smartphones.