More and more corporates are having in-person meetings only when it is required, and many are relying on remote meetings. Flying people around, paying for their hotels and food is costly and may not be required also. You can achieve same results with the help of video conferencing and competition in this area is growing. More and more companies are providing video conferencing tools and services. The growing speed of internet is making it better as live audio/video streaming which was never allowed in corporates due to bandwidth issues a few years back, is now a reality.

“Meet by Google Hangouts” is a new video conferencing application from Google. You can meet your business associates via HD video, voice or text. Another initiative from Google for face to face meetings. The web and mobile App is yet another business product from Google under their product range by name G Suite where the products work on Cloud.

Exciting Features

The Mobile App is known to be pulled from App store, but the web application is there and has a landing page.  You can learn the features at https://gsuite.google.com/products/hangouts/

You can join a meeting scheduled by you or someone else using your Google account and meeting code through the web application page https://meet.google.com/

You have no other options available on this page other than joining a meeting and see the scheduled meetings. It seems Google team is still working on this App for adding features related to scheduling.

The Meet is launched to serve as a more business-oriented option to Hangouts. Similar to Facebook, Google is also focussing on communication and more on video communication! Similar to earlier Hangouts, this version also offers group video call with more capacity.

Now you can host the video meeting for up to 25 people with an automated screen focus on the speaker. Considering the meeting issues of everyone not being at Office or home at the time of the meeting, the features are to make it easy for team members to join from anywhere.

You can dial through dial-in numbers (available only to Enterprise customers), and web links and the App integrates with your Gmail and Google calendar. So, the integrity established within Google tools is enhancing for G Suite users. With some more basic features added, you can start conducting the video meetings.

The Green button allows you to join the conference and everyone has a mute option, where you can mute your audio or video. For a bigger group, the main window will show the person speaking and the list of people in the meeting.

This new platform can be used for showcasing your brand or can be used to launch your new product. The live streaming is possible for this event, and you can save it to your Company’s YouTube video channel. You can use the same to hire freelancers and conduct interviews remotely.

The way corporate users are joining from MS Outlook through the GoToMeeting; now it will be possible to launch the Meet through Google calendar. Admin will have more controls to provide external access participants. External participant access has restrictions by default, but you can add them when required.

You might have seen the video meetings suddenly getting terminated with time limits, which you will not face with this App, as there is no time limit.

Availability

The iTunes store is having the iOS Mobile App available, but there is no definite information about Android App. The regular Hangout API was shut down in Jan’17, and the focus shifted to enterprise version. The recent acquisition of ‘Limes Audio’ is likely to boost the voice quality of Meet.

The regular Hangout is still working, and there is no clarity whether that will get shut down after Meet is available with all features. Hangout is used a lot for text chat, and that may remain there after the Meet takes centre stage.

Competition

There are competitors like Citrix GoToMeeting and Microsoft Skype for Business. The Meet by Google Hangout will come as an opportunity to millions of users who are already on Google’s business platform. The cloud suite will have probably everything that a business needs ranging from a small business to an enterprise.

There are more names to the competition, and though they are small, they are having their portion of the global enterprise business solutions. Ring Central, ZOHO, eVoice, Cisco webex, Interactive Intelligence, QuickMeeting Adobe Connect, and Join.Me are other video conferencing business solutions. Most of them offer a free trial, and they are scalable.

Competitive pricing, excellent features, and best service is the criteria for selecting the best provider, but Google will have the advantage of its vast infrastructure. They can launch any service throughout the world, and they are providing package solutions for entire business communication and documentation needs. They have an advantage over others.

Meeting the Commitments

Google declared last year about shifting the Hangout focus to cater to the business needs, and they are keeping their commitments. They have shifted from a personal user base to a commercial use base using entire G suite.  If Hangout is shut down, then it will be bad news for individual users.

No more Hangout APIs

The company is continuously expanding their business services and making it a more business focussed platform than a consumer platform. The Hangout APIs already got discontinued, and you can’t use them after 25th April. The freelance web developers and mobile app developers should take a note of it.

The Business users are excited about new tools and features being launched by Google but the company may go away from consumers/individual users, and they are aware of it.

Summary:

You can access Meet on Web and iOS, and it will eventually get available on Android App Store also. Google is ready to focus more on Business Apps and Video calling features. They are keeping it very simple to deploy and manage and powering it with Chrome and Hangouts. It is interesting to see what happens to Hangouts going forward and when can we officially start connecting the teams worldwide.

 

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