Google Meet vs Zoom: Which group video chat service do you need?

Google Meet vs Zoom: Which group video chat service do you need?

Given the circumstances, there's a good chance you're working from home right now. If you are, then it may take some adjusting to get used to this new life. And you're going to want to look into the right tools to use, like video conferencing software, whether it's for meetings with coworkers or just chatting with your friends and family.

Two of the most popular choices out there right now are Google Hangouts Meet and Zoom. But which one is better? Let's take a look.

Let's get the basics out of the way

Both Google Hangouts Meet and Zoom provide users with the ability to interact with others through video conference calls. This means that your work is still able to conduct meetings and presentations, or you and your friends and family can see each other while catching up on what you've been doing in quarantine. But there are some differences between the two in terms of pricing, features, and more.

Disclaimer: Right now, for a limited time, both Google Meet and Zoom are removing restrictions on certain tiers, such as the 40-minute limitation on Zoom's free level and Google's 100-participant limit. Google Meet also works with any regular, non-G Suite account, but that account can only join existing Meets, not create new ones. However, the free Google Hangouts is an alternative to Google Meet and supports video chats with up to 25 people.

These are just basic specs of each service at a glance. Both Google Hangouts Meet and Zoom have their own strengths and weaknesses, depending on what you want to use video conferencing for.

Google Hangouts Meet

  • Part of Google G Suite
  • Tight integration with other Google services
  • Basic video conferencing features
  • Secure encryption
  • Doesn't require a software download
  • G Suite has no free tier
  • Enterprise tier maxes out at 250 participants
  • Features are limited

Personally, I have been using Google Hangouts Meet every week for the past two years since that is what we use here at iMore. Since we use G Suite for all of our work accounts, it's just better integrated for our needs, and it doesn't require additional software besides a web browser if you're on desktop.

If you or your team is already invested in G Suite, then Meet is probably the better choice to go with since you already have access to it. With Meet, you're getting more integration with other Google services, like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Hangouts Chat, and more. For example, meetings can be booked in advance through Google Calendar, and invites go out via Gmail.

While G Suite normally doesn't have a free option and usually starts at $6 per user per month for the Basic plan for up to 100 participants per Meet call, there is a special promotion happening right now. This promo is giving free access to advanced Hangouts Meet capabilities (up to 250 participants per call, live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers, and meeting recording saved to Google Drive) to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers. This special deal will last until .

Google Hangouts Meet is best suited for teams that are already using G Suite, since the Basic plan starts at $6 per user, and it goes up from there. However, participants do not necessarily need a G Suite email address to participate in a Google Meet - all they need is a Gmail address. As long as you have a Gmail address, then you can join a Google Meet, you just can't host one. If you want a free alternative to Google Meet, there is Google Hangouts, which supports video calls up to 25 people.

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