Google Meet is now available for free. Check the most important features.
The lockdown due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease changed the traditional ways of interaction. The rules of social distancing caused the new tendency of conducting work meetings in a different way. The remote video calls and conferences are now part of our everyday routine and the slang word ‘Zooming’ is applied to refer to the video calls during the quarantine mode.
Today Zoom has become an increasingly popular platform while its competitors Google Hangouts Meet and Skype are used far less frequently. However, Google is now trying to regain its dominant position in the market, so the company has made Google Meet service free for everyone.
In June 2020 every user is able to host meetings of 100 people for an unlimited amount of time in Google Meet. Previously, Google Hangouts Meet could be used only by educational or business institutions. Google is planning to limit the video conference time to 60 minutes from the 30th of September. Nevertheless, it is still 20 minutes which is more than the free option offered by Zoom.
Also, Google took advantage of the security problems of the Zoom meetings that were found earlier. Video calls made via Zoom were disrupted by the uninvited guests. Google took this problem into account and developed the solution. If somebody is trying to join the video call by Google Meet, he or she will be sent to the so-called ‘green room’. This person will receive access to the meeting when the host receives the request.
If you are going to start using Google Meet for video conferencing instead of Zoom, you need to consider some tips and tricks that we will describe further.
- How to make a video call
- How to schedule a meeting in Google Meet
- How to change the meeting layout in Google Meet
- Real-time subtitles on the video call
- The other features of Google Meet
- Change camera resolution
- Screensharing in Google Meet
- Change the background in Google Meet
- Keyboard shortcuts in Google Meet
- Low-light support and noise cancellation
- Google Meet vs Zoom
How to make a video call
It is one of the most popular and important questions when you start using Google Meet. You can join the conference in Google Meet if you are registered in Google and have the user’s account. The company calls it a security measure.
After the registration, you need to log in to your account or Google Calendar and then choose Google Meet. Also, you may use the link: meet.google.com.
The next step is to click on the ‘Join or start a meeting’ button. Once you have picked a nickname for the meeting, click ‘Continue’. When you share the nickname of the meeting or the meeting ID with the other participants of the video conference, they will be able to join the call.
If you are using the mobile device, you need to download Google Meet from Google Play or App Store and apply the same scheme described above.
How to schedule a meeting in Google Meet
If you need to plan the meeting for a certain date, you can use Google Calendar. Create the event, add the details and the emails of the future participants of the meeting. Then click ‘Add video conferencing’ and send the invitations to the video call. The participants of the meeting are not able to join the conference without the invitation or your permission when they are trying to join.
How to change the meeting layout in Google Meet
Google Meet displays the most active participant or content on the screen, just like Zoom. The meeting layout can be changed by clicking on three dots in the bottom right of the screen. The changes in layout can be made in several ways:
- Tiled view with the 16 participants on the screen at once;
- Speaker view when the speaker or presentation fills the whole screen;
- Sidebar when the participants are to the side of the presentation.
Real-time subtitles on the video call
Google Meet has a special feature of turning on the subtitles on the video calls for English-speaking users. This feature is useful for a better understanding of the participant. Click on the ‘Turn on captions’ in the right corner of the screen. To turn the subtitles off, click the same button.
The other features of Google Meet
You can pin, mute, or boot someone in the video call by Google Meet. If you need to pin someone’s tile to the call, you need to click on the pin icon on the image of this person. If you want to kick somebody out of the call, click on People, choose the person, and then click on the back arrow. After that, click on Remove. If you want to mute the participant of the conference, click on the volume button on the participant’s tile, and choose Silence.
Change camera resolution
If you have a bad quality of Wi-Fi and it is difficult to listen to the people’s words, then you may choose to change the resolution of the camera. If you want to change the resolution you need to click on the three dots in the bottom corner, then choose Settings and Video tab. Then you will be able to change the quality of your video feed and the video feeds of the other participants of the meeting. The quality of the video will be lower but you will be able to hear the sound better.
Screensharing in Google Meet
This feature is very useful if you need to show the presentation to your colleagues. You can mirror the screen and receive immediate feedback. To share your screen choose the Show my screen button in the right corner. You have several variants of demonstrating the screen. For instance, you can share a certain window, separate Chrome tab, or the whole screen. When you select the window for screen sharing click ‘Share’. To stop mirroring the screen click ‘Stop sharing screen’.
Change the background in Google Meet
The ability to change the background is a very useful feature, especially for people who are using Google Meet for work conferences. You can place the banner of your company to the background if your company is using Google Meet to communicate with the clients.
Google Meet does not have this feature on the platform but you can apply a tool called ChromaCam. After the installation of ChromaCam, you need to login to the application with your e-mail. Before you join or start the conference, you should change the settings of your camera.
Keyboard shortcuts in Google Meet
The most useful keyboard shortcuts in Google Meet are the following:
Switch the camera on and off – Ctrl (Command on Mac) + E.
Switch your microphone on and off – Ctrl (Command on Mac) + D
If you need to see the whole list of keyboard shortcuts press Ctrl + ? on PC or Command + ? on Mac.
Low-light support and noise cancellation
Google is going to update the Google Meet service introducing two new features. The first is noise cancellation which will help to reduce the unnecessary sounds in the background. This update will be available only for educational institutions and enterprises.
The second feature is low-light support. It will help to make the camera feed on smartphones brighter. Later low-light support will become available for desktop usage.
Google Meet vs Zoom
Let us compare the features of the two main services that provide the ability for making video calls. Google Meet is aimed mostly at quick meetings, while Zoom is more suitable for the meetings of the larger groups of people.
Google Meet provides an unlimited amount of time for video conferencing with the subscription to G Suite or free meetings up to 60 minutes. The program has a basic set of tools needed for the work conference.
The advantages of Google Meet are the following:
- The screen sharing opportunity;
- The ability to share files through the chat;
- The program is free;
- Google Meet does not require additional fees;
- The additional features are available with the G Suite subscription.
The disadvantages of Google Meet include:
- The fewer number of participants in comparison to Zoom;
- Messy dashboard;
- Inconvenient for Mac users.
Zoom is a perfect program that allows connecting to the webcams and other equipment for video conferencing. Also, the program provides the opportunity for several people to join from a single device or place. Zoom is more expensive compared to Google Meet. There are also call-in fees.
The advantages of Zoom include:
- Various collaboration tools;
- The ability to connect to the conferencing equipment;
- Free account;
- Zoom is compatible with different operating systems;
- The program can host up to 500 participants.
The disadvantages of Zoom are the following:
- Additional call-in fees;
- To use Zoom you need to disable the popup blockers.
These two programs for remote video calls have many common features. These are screen sharing, breakout rooms, call-ins, and collaboration features for a comfortable remote job and video conferencing. However, Google Meet is a more convenient tool due to the G Suite account. In addition, you can use Google Meet with a Google account but you will have only 60 minutes for video conferences. Also, Google Meet is more cost-effective due to the absence of additional call-in fees.
Zoom is more suitable for you if you need to conduct a video conference in the meeting room. In comparison to Google Meet, Zoom allows a greater number of users to join the conference. The program provides the opportunity to stream the meeting from 500 devices. Zoom offers a free package of services but the features are limited, including the amount of time for the individual meetings. In addition, you can not record the meetings conducted via Zoom if you have a free account. The paid account in Zoom offers far more opportunities but it is more expensive than using Google Meet.