The COVID-19 pandemic completely transformed the lives of global citizens. For professionals, too, the change has been significant. As businesses swiftly transform their operations from an office-based setting to a digital work from home (WFH) ecosystem, online conferencing applications have gained exponential popularity.
In this article, we talk about Google Meet, one of the most popular platforms - discussing in detail the pros and cons, before moving on to a step by step guide on how to use the application.
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What Is Google Meet?
Google Meet is a video-conferencing application. It was initially launched in 2013 as Google Hangouts, and 2017, Google Hangouts was rebranded to Google Meet. This application has proved insanely useful during the lockdown for a wide array of users, including students and teachers who can easily log in to the same meeting to continue distance education.
Similarly, professionals enjoy using this platform too. Employees can all log into the same meeting, all from the comfort and safety of their own homes.
Moreover, Google Meet is also able to be used for non-work related tasks. Quarantine has separated family and friends and fortunately, distanced social circles can still organize group calls on Google Meet and enjoy each other's company, even in these troubled times.
Pros Of Using Google Meet
Google Meet has some noteworthy features which place it among the top applications available. on the market.
Google Meet runs primarily on Chrome and Gmail. This may be an inconvenience for some, but it enables some exciting features. One of them is the integration of Google services, and the add-ons from Google services increase the Meet experience tenfold.
One example of the many add-ons is Google Calendar. Calendar can be used to easily schedule meetings - basically, it provides the functionality of a reminder app (just a lot better) while being in sync with your Google Meet account. A lot of people may overlook this feature, but it can be handy sometimes. If you have an important meeting coming up - you should rather be safe than sorry and use the Calendar add-on.
Google Meet also comes with a speech-to-text feature. When turned on, it converts anything you're saying to text. The participants of the meeting can then read the transcripted text. This especially is helpful if one or more participants have faulty output audio, in which case they can just read the text. Moreover, if someone has impaired hearing, they can use it too. This feature might seem minor, but it increases the accessibility of the platform big time.
The best part of Google Meet is perhaps the fact that Google develops it. Google is a very reputable company that millions of people trust with their sensitive information (such as emails). So we think that Google will also ensure the security of the data that you transmit via Meet.
Finally, Google Meet has a straightforward interface. If you usually find getting used to new technology and applications tough, Google Meet should be perfect for you.
Cons Of Using Google Meet
Google Meet is a fantastic application and while it solves many problems, it does come with its fair share of flaws. Talking about these shortcomings is essential for you to make a decision and for Google to identify what they can do better.
Google Meet has a maximum meeting time of one hour. This should be enough for a class. But if you want a meeting for more than an hour, then Google Meet isn't for you. The app does have a version for unlimited meeting time - but you will have to pay in order to access that feature.
It should be noted that in case you're looking for extensive fancy features, then Meet isn't for you either. Meet is all about getting the basics right, nothing more, nothing less. It is a perfect application if you're looking to conduct day-to-day classes and meetings. However, you should go with one of the alternatives if you're looking for something more.
Another problem with Google Meet is you can only use this app on Chrome and together with a Gmail account. Downloading Chrome isn't that difficult and most people should already have it installed, but this is still an inconvenience if you're a Safari user, for example.
Another disadvantage of Google Meet is the limited participants. You are limited to only 100 participants and while this might be fine for most professionals, a lot of schools and colleges have combined multiple classes to save time. This helps the teacher only teach a particular topic once and in that scenario, a mixed class can have well over 100 members. This poses a problem for those using the free version of Google Meet. You can upgrade to the paid version, but that costs money, and people aren't usually willing to spend much (if anything) on a video-conferencing application.
How To Use Google Meet
Here is how you can use Google Meets on your Mac.
- Open Chrome.
- Click here
- Sign-in to your Gmail account.
- Click on "Start a Meeting" if you want to host one.
- Alternatively, you can "Enter a Meeting code." This is for if you're going to join an existing meeting.
- You can turn the camera and microphone off before starting the meeting.
- Click on "Join Now."
Alternatives To Google Meet
Some people might not like using Google Meet, in which case we have some alternatives. Here are two video-conferencing applications you can look at instead of Google Meet.
Discord is a popular video calling application amongst gamers. It offers the most features out of any other app out there. There is a "bot" feature that lets you carry out specific tasks. An example of this is the "MEE6" bot. MEE6 provides functionality, such as listening to music or monitoring chat. Discord allows for unlimited people on a channel. Moreover, there is no time limit to the meetings. You can read a detailed review of Discord here.
Zoom is currently the go-to video-conferencing application. You can read MacInfo's review and guide on Zoom here.