With Coronavirus concerns rising, Google has this week announced that it will make its advanced group video calling tools available to all G Suite users for free, in order to provide additional options for those looking to reduce in-person gatherings.
As explained by Google:
"We’re committed to helping students and their teachers continue learning outside of school. In Hong Kong and Vietnam, where schools have already been closed, we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of students start using both Hangouts Meet and Google Classroom, to join classes and continue their schooling remotely from home. And, as more businesses adjust their work-from-home policies and adopt reduced travel plans in response to COVID-19, we're helping to ensure that all globally distributed teams can still reliably meet face to face, even if employees are not in the same location."
Catering to this, Google says that, from this week, it will roll out free access to its advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally.
This will enable:
- Larger meetings, for up to 250 participants per call
- Live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers within a domain
- The ability to record meetings and save them to Google Drive
These advanced options are available in the Enterprise edition of G Suite and in G Suite Enterprise for Education, but will be made available to all, free of charge, until July 1, 2020.
The added capacity will no doubt see significant use - just this week, Twitter has become the first company to advise all of its 4,800 staff to work from home as much as possible in order to reduce contamination concerns. Conferences are switching to virtual events, schools and education facilities are seeking alternatives. If people are able to work from home, many of them will, and with tools like these advanced hangouts features being made available, that will make it easier for some to make the call.