How can anyone video conference with Google Meet?

In a possible effort to crack down on video conferencing powerhouse Zoom, Google has expanded its Meet communications app to make it available to anyone with a Gmail account (previously, it was only available to those with paid G Suite or education accounts). You will be able to chat with up to 100 people and there is currently no time limit; After September 30, meetings will be limited to 60 minutes.

You don’t have to do anything to get the app: it automatically appears in your Gmail app as a small “Meet” section in the left column, just below your category list. As Google is in the habit, it’s slowly rolling out the app to Gmail users over the next few weeks: a Gmail colleague 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 that he still hadn’t received his Gmail account this morning. However, if you can’t wait, you can go. meet.google.com to try.

Google Meet

The new Meet link will appear in the left column of Gmail.

If you see the “Meet” section in your desktop Gmail, you will find that your new video conferencing application is really convenient and easy to use.

Using Meet with Gmail

  • To start a video session, click “Start meeting” just below the “Meet” subheading. (If you’ve received an invitation to someone else’s Meet session, you can click “Join meeting” and copy the meeting code sent in the email.)
  • You will get a new browser window with a preview video window on the left. On the right, under the words “Meeting is ready”, you’ll find the link to your meeting. You can copy it and send it to other participants. Click “Join now” to start the meeting.

Google Meet

Click “Join now” to start your meeting.

  • If you want to start the meeting with a presentation, click “Present Presentation” instead of “Join Now”. You will be given a choice as to which of the open windows on your computer to present. (If you want to give a presentation later, there will be an icon at the bottom of our window that allows you to switch.)
  • After selecting “Join Now”, a popup will give you a chance to send invitations to your attendees. When you’re done, exit the window to start the meeting.
  • You will receive a notification when any of your guests wish to join; You can choose “Accept” or “Deny entry”.

Google Meet

You can accept or decline each participant’s entry.

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), it does have a few useful options.

  • You can choose one of three different layouts to view the participants by clicking the three dots in the corner and selecting “Change level”. You can choose between the sidebar (where the speaker is in a large window and the rest are in thumbnails); spotlight (where you only see the speaker) and tiled. Note that tiling is only available if there are at least three people in your meeting. And you will not be involved in tiles; your own video footage is minimized in the tile layout.

Google Meet

You can turn on subtitles or show a presentation using the icons at the bottom of the window.

  • You can use Google’s captions feature to show what each person is saying by clicking the “Turn on subtitles” option at the bottom of the screen.
  • And of course you can mute the sound or mute your video using the icons at the bottom of the screen.

It also has a way to monitor and chat with all the participants in your meeting. In the upper right corner of your window you will see a button with contacts and chat icons on it; Click this to open a side window with two tabs.

  • The People tab lets you see the names of all attendees; Click the arrow to the right of each entry and a drop-down menu will allow you to pin the person to your main window, mute or remove them from the meeting.
  • The Chat tab allows you to chat with anyone or people in your meeting.

Google Meet

In the right column you can chat or watch your participants.

To end a meeting, either click the red phone icon at the bottom of the window or remove the tab.

Use Meet with Google Calendar

Gmail isn’t the only place you’ll find the new app – when you schedule a meeting using Google Calendar, you’ll now find a new button for “Add Google Meet video conference”. As you can imagine, the video meeting creation process is simple.

Click 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 in their email addresses.

Google Meet

Google Meet is now part of your calendar.

If you add invitees, you can email them meeting invitations. The emails will only contain all the information about the meeting and will allow them to send a response (Yes / Maybe / No) or suggest an alternative time.

Using Meet on mobile devices

If you want to take advantage of your new access to Meet on your phone, download the Meet app at: Google Play or Apple’s app store.

Also, if you’re using Google’s Calendar app, you’ll now see an “Add video conferencing” selection when you create an event. Click that and all you will see is “Google Meet: Added video conferencing details” – the address of your meeting will be included in the final program entry.

How secure is Meet?

Google is clearly trying to avoid some of the security issues Zoom suffered in April, when its relatively open format meant that intruders could break into meetings. The security measures that the company has stated include:

  • The code for each meeting is different and random.
  • Each new participant 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 in transit, and all recordings stored in Google Drive are encrypted in transit and at rest.”

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