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Free Video Conferencing on Zoom vs Google Meet

Online video conferencing has proved indispensable for businesses, interest groups, and family gatherings in 2020. During this time, Zoom and Google Meet have emerged as the top video conferencing platforms for hosting meetings and live streaming. Though paid plans are necessary to access the best features of each platform, their free plans are more than adequate for many. Read on to learn more about Zoom’s and Google Meet’s free video conferencing plans so that you can determine which is best for you.  

Zoom

Zoom is best known as a conferencing platform for businesses, though it is increasingly being used by educational institutions, interest groups, and families as well. Zoom’s free plan provides the tools you need to hold short meetings and gatherings on Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android or as an extension on Chrome and Outlook. 

zoom meeting

Features

  • Time Limit: Zoom’s free video conferencing is limited to 40 minutes for groups.
  • Participant Limit: Host up to 100 people in your meetings. 
  • Unlimited 1 on 1 meetings so you can talk over video with one other person as long as you want.
  • HD Video and Voice so you can see and hear others clearly.
  • Switch Views: Switch between active speaker view and gallery view depending on if you want to focus on the speaker or view all participants. 
  • Screen Sharing: Participants can screen share simultaneously. All participants can annotate each others’ shared screens. 
  • Local Recording: Record and save your meetings to your local drive. 
  • Breakout Rooms: Divide your meetings into as many as 50 different groups for more individual discussion. 
  • Host Controls: Hosts can mute and hide other participants. Enable hand-raising so muted participants can let you know when they have a question or comment. 
  • Group Messaging: Message others in your meeting in both private and group chat. You can also send files over chat. 
  • Security: SSL and AES 256 bits encryption ensure that your meetings stay safe and secure. 

Google Meet

With Google Meet, Google had made its professional-level video conferencing platform available for all. All G Suite plans–which include Google Meet along with other services such as Google Calendar, custom Gmail, and shared Google Drive storage–are currently free through September 30, though this article will only cover Google Meet’s free plan that will remain free after October 1. Google Meet is available for Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, and some Linux systems as well as iOS, Android, and iPad for anyone that has a Google account. 

google meet

Features

  • Time Limit: Google Meet’s free video conferencing is typically limited to one hour, though they can currently be up to 24 hours through September 30. 
  • Participant Limit: Host up to 100 participants in your meetings.
  • Live Closed Captions in English only.
  • Screen Sharing: Share your screen with others. Google Meet does not include screen annotations or simultaneous screen share. 
  • Google Drive Storage: Use up to 15GB of Google Drive storage per user.
  • Chat: Chat with meeting participants during the meeting in the side chat bar. 
  • Security: Encryption, 2-step verification, and enrollment in the Advanced Protection Program ensure that your meetings stay safe and secure. 
  • No Download Necessary: Join Google Meet directly in-browser on Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Apple Safari, and Opera.

Zoom vs Google Meet: Which free video conferencing plan should you choose? 

The answer to this question will depend on your needs. Google Meet’s extended time limit is a huge point in its favor. With its temporary 24-hour limit, you will never have to worry about running out of time in a meeting on Google Meet. Even after October 1, Google Meet’s time limit will be 20 minutes longer than Zoom’s. Google Meet is also good for meeting with international clients or those who are hard of hearing who may need live captioning to better follow along what participants are saying. 

However, Zoom’s free plan includes several important features that Google Meet does not, such as breakout rooms and screen annotating. If you need to divide up your meetings or markup presenters’ screens, then you should choose Zoom. Overall, Zoom is best for short professional meetings, while Google Meet is best for everything else.

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