In an effort to stop video conference powerhouse Zoom, Google has expanded the Meet communication app to be available to anyone with a Gmail account (previously it was only open to people with paid G Suite or education) accounts). You can meet up to 100 people and there is currently no time limit; after September 30, meetings are limited to 60 minutes.
You don't need to do anything to download the app: it will automatically show up in your Gmail app as a small & # 39; Meet & # 39; section in the left column, right below your list of categories. As Google is used to, the app will slowly roll out to Gmail users in the coming weeks: a colleague with Gmail reported that he got the app last week and I found it in my Gmail account over the weekend, but at least one colleague reported this morning that she still hasn't received it in her Gmail account. However, if you can't wait, you can go to meet.google.com to try it out.
If you do see the "Meet" section in your desktop Gmail, you will find that your new video conferencing app is actually very convenient and easy to use.
Use Meet with Gmail
- To start a video session, click & # 39; Start a meeting & # 39; just below the & # 39; Meet & # 39; subhead. (If you have received an invitation to the Meet session from someone else, you can click "Join a meeting" and copy the meeting code you emailed.)
- You will get a new browser window with a sample video window at the left hand side. On the right, under the words & # 39; Meeting ready & # 39; the link address for your meeting. You can copy that and send it to other participants. Click "Join Now" to start the meeting.
- To start the meeting with a presentation, click "Present" instead. from "Get involved." You can choose which of the open windows on your computer you want to present. (If you would like to give a presentation later, there is an icon at the bottom of our window for you to switch.)
- After you & # 39; Join Now & # 39; selected, you will get in a pop-up window the opportunity to invite your participants. When you're done, exit the window to start the meeting.
- If one of your guests wants to participate, you will receive a notification; you can select "Accept" or "Deny".
Google Meet has a very clean and easy to understand interface. While it doesn't have the same number of features as apps like Zoom (you can't record a session, for example), there are several useful options.
- You can choose one of three different layouts to view the participants by clicking on the three dots in the corner and & # 39; Change Layout & # 39; select. You can choose between the sidebar (where the speaker is in a large window and the others in thumbnails); spotlight (where you only see the speaker), and tiled. Keep in mind that tiles are only available if you have at least three people in your meeting. And you are not included in the tiles; your own video image is minimized in the tiled layout.
- By clicking "Enable captions" at the bottom of the screen, you can use Google's closed captioning feature to show what each person is saying.
- And of course you can mute your audio or turn off your video with icons at the bottom of the screen.  There is also a way to follow and chat with all participants of your meeting. At the top right of your window you will see a button with people and chat icons on it; click on it to open a side window with two tabs.
- On the Contacts tab you can see the names of all those present; click the arrow to the right of each item, and a drop-down menu lets you pin, mute or remove the person in your main window from the meeting.
- The chat tab allows you to chat with anyone or individuals who are in your meeting.
To end a meeting, click the red phone icon at the bottom of the window or simply remove the tab.
Use measure with Google Calendar
Gmail isn't the only place where you will find the new app – when you schedule a meeting with Google Calendar, you will now find a new button for & # 39; Add Google Meet video conferencing & # 39 ;. As you can imagine, the process of creating a video meeting is simple.
Click on the button and you will have the opportunity to copy the web address of the meeting. You can also add guests from your Google contacts list or type their email address.
If you add guests, you can email them meeting invitations. The emails only contain all the information about the meeting and allow them to reply (Yes / Maybe / No) or suggest an alternative time.
Using Meet on Mobile
To take advantage of your new access to Meet on your phone, download the Meet app from Google Play or Apple's App Store.
In addition, if you use the Calendar app from Google, you will now see a selection of 'Add video conference'. when you create an event. Click on it and all you see is & # 39; Google Meet: Video conference details added & # 39; – the address of your meeting will be included in the final agenda entry.
How safe is Meet?
Google is clearly trying to avoid some of the security issues Zoom had in April, when the relatively open format meant that intruders could find their way to meetings. The safeguards that the company cites include:
- The code for each meeting is different and arbitrary.
- Each new entrant must be individually approved by the host and can be muted or removed at any time.
- All users must have a Gmail account.
- And finally, according to Google, "Meet video meetings are encrypted during transmission and all recordings stored in Google Drive are encrypted during transmission and at rest."