Source : CNET.com

Google Meet Review: A Powerful Video Conferencing Tool With Room For Improvement

Google Meet, Google’s video conferencing tool, helped millions of people stay connected and compete with other video apps like Zoom during the first year of the pandemic. And as some companies expand to remote working, video conferencing has become a must in some jobs. Google Meet, included in Google Duo, provides enough tools to work with other major video apps, but needs improvement.

Google Meet is easy to set up with a Google account and allows you to hold meetings within other Google apps, but features like translation and annotations could be improved.

google meet

Google meeting plan

Google Meet offers three rate plans. To avoid confusion, the default free Google Meet accounts, called Google Meet Free, are Google Workspace Individual and Google Workspace Enterprise.

Meetings with a free Google Meet account can hold up to 100 people, but meetings are limited to one hour. You can also share the screen and change the wallpaper, but that is the only amazing feature. Other features, such as meeting recording, require a paid plan. Meet Free doesn’t even support phone numbers. This means that if you are overseas and don’t have a laptop, you may need to download the Google Meet app on your phone and use your phone data to join the call.

Google Meet Free provides basic customer support. Meet Free describes customer support as a “online community self-help forum “. I interpreted it as “directly “.

Each account comes with 15GB of Google Drive storage, which is equivalent to the space you get with a free Gmail account. If you have a Google One subscription, the Google Meet plan does not add additional space to your Google Drive. Security features include encrypted meeting data, a 10-character meeting code to prevent anyone from joining the meeting, and two-factor authentication options. This plan is ideal for people who want to video chat with friends and family or for students working on small classroom projects.

Google Workspace Individual is where Google Meet began to feel like a viable option for video conferencing. Meetings are available 24 hours a day and support 100 people. You can create sub-rooms and polls for chat participants and record meetings for future reference.

Online customer service is available 24/7, but in English only. Unlike the free plan, Google Workspace Individual supports dialed phone numbers. It comes with the same Google Drive space and the same security features as Google Meet Free.

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With additional features like branch offices and meeting recordings, this plan is useful for small businesses or professionals who need to video chat with large clients. This plan costs $ 8 per month, but Google says the plan will increase to $ 10 per month in October.

Google Workspace Enterprise offers the same features as other plans, but allows you to host video chats with up to 500 people, conduct Q&A sessions, receive meeting attendance reports, and stream live meetings to 100,000 viewers across the board. inside your organization or school.

In addition to the aforementioned security and privacy features, you get a 24/7 security dashboard, customer support, a Google consultant dedicated to your customer support needs, and more. You also get unlimited Google Drive storage.

Google doesn’t include pricing for this plan, so contact your Google sales department for a quote. This is quite common in business plans.

The basic Google Meet plan is free, while the other plans start at $ 8 per month through October 2022.

Host a meeting on Google Meet

Setting up Google Meet with my Gmail account was easy. I downloaded the Google Meet app on my phone, sent the meeting link to my work account, and joined the meeting in less than 5 minutes on both devices. There was no need to go through the complicated installation process. If you don’t have a Gmail account, you’ll need to create one before you can use Google Meet. This process is also not difficult, but it can be frustrating if you don’t want to create another email account to monitor.

Use with other Google apps

If you’re having trouble with Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets, you can use Google Meet from Docs. Here you and your guests can view and collaborate on projects in real time. Using this built-in feature can make it easier and faster to get feedback than sending and receiving text messages or emails. Similar to screen sharing, but with fewer steps.

However, this feature has its drawbacks. If you set up a meeting inside the app, you are prevented from staying inside that app. I can’t start a video call from Google Docs and then go to Google Sheets. If you quit the document, the call ends and you have to start a new call in another application.

Not being able to switch apps can help. If you and your teammates get distracted easily, it can help keep the meeting going. But if you have a lot to deal with across multiple apps, it’s best to start a meeting and share your screen.

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Subtitles and translations

All Google Meet plans provide users with subtitles for their meetings. When enabled, subtitles will appear in a box at the bottom of the video. I found the use of subtitles and annotations a bit unstable. I felt that I had to speak and speak more clearly so that my words were conveyed correctly. When I meet my friends or talk passionately about something, I tend to speak faster. This can confuse my words a bit and lead to incorrect subtitles.

I also found that speaking a little lighter than usual recording also leads to bad subtitles. This can cause people to try to talk and talk to each other in meetings.

Google Meet can provide subtitles for some languages ​​and can translate subtitles into other languages. However, these features appear to be limited. Meeting annotations support English, French, German, Portuguese in Brazil, and Spanish in Spain and Mexico. Subtitles can be translated into English, French, German or Spanish. For a large company like Google, we expect more language options to be available. This allows companies with foreign workers to travel to other locations to hold video conferences.

Other characteristics

Many people who use video conferencing tools have changed their wallpaper for the sake of privacy or entertainment. People seem to blur the background, sit in the captain’s chair on the USS Enterprise, or enjoy a great day at the beach. Google Meet provides preloaded live and static background images, the ability to blur the background, and the ability to upload your own. Google Meet also offers some background effects, like a colored grayscale wallpaper, to make it look like you’re in a fun 80s music video.

If you don’t want to appear in front of the camera, you can turn it off. If you don’t want to watch yourself in the video and want to keep the camera on, you can easily hide the video. Watching video every day can lead to what researchers call “magnification fatigue”. This phenomenon can make people, especially women, more critical of their appearance. You can also use other video conferencing tools to hide the video, but the process is more complicated. If you’re using the Google Meet desktop with someone else, hover over the video and click Minimize. While in a meeting with someone on a mobile device, tap the three dots in the lower right corner of the screen, then tap Minimize video.

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Google Meet allows video conferencing on mobile and desktop devices.

Which Google Meet plan is right for me?

If you want to chat with family and friends, you probably don’t need a paid plan. The features of this plan are aimed at businesses and may seem unnecessary to the average user.

For example, the built-in Q&A features in Google Workspace for individuals and businesses aren’t different enough from the chat options to be effective. You can ask questions using Questions and Answers. All participants can see the questions and questions. When someone answers a question, the host can mark it as an answer or delete it. Hosts can hide questions from others or remove them from Questions and Answers. I understand the idea behind this, but it seems to be more useful for large organizations than small businesses where just chatting will be enough. This feature can also be difficult to find, as it is located in a separate menu from the chat options. Also,

Attendance reporting in Google Workspace Enterprise seems a bit clunky. In addition to seeing who approved the meeting request, an attendee report is sent at the end of the meeting, showing attendees, their email addresses, and how long they’ve been in the meeting. This means that if you leave the meeting early, the organizer will know. This report makes me think the host doesn’t trust me anyway.

Google Meet does not have a feature offered by other video chat services. The ability to message someone during a meeting, regardless of group chats. Sometimes I want to ask a question, but I’m afraid of being judged by others, so being able to text someone without being the center of attention is a good way. With Google Meet, you need to find another way to ask questions.

Overall, Google Meet is a good video conferencing tool, especially if you use other Google apps. However, there is room for improvement. Whether you are in touch with distant friends and family or working in a small business, one of our Google Meet plans will meet your needs.

For more Google news, check out Google’s skin tone meter, Nest mobile home solutions or speakers, and Google’s Pixel Watch information.

Article Source : https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/google-meet-review-a-solid-video-conferencing-tool-with-room-for-improvement/

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