Google Meet is one of two video communication services offered by Google, the other being Google Duo. Google Meet and Google Chat are also replacements for the now-defunct Google Hangouts.
As a replacement for Hangouts, Google Meet was designed as an enterprise service, with advanced features. The initial release of Google Meet in 2017 was only for users who had G Suite accounts. However, in response to the COVID19 pandemic in early 2020, and the surging demand for video conferencing services, Google offered some of the advanced features to holders of consumer accounts.
Advanced Features of Google Meet
- Encrypted calls between all users. However, it’s not end-to-end. Google Meet uses transport encryption, which also provides high levels of security.
- Users of the service can join a meeting by dialing into the meeting using dial-in numbers. The catch is that the encryption will take place on the telephone carrier network and cannot be guaranteed by Google.
- Google Meet offers users the ability to share screens enabling them to do presentations, present information such as documents, spreadsheets, and others during meetings.
- The maximum number of meeting participants depends on the G Suite account type. For G Suite Basic users, the maximum number of participants is 100. For G Suite Business, the maximum number is 150, while for G Suite Enterprise, the maximum number is 250.
- Users of Google Meet also have the option of turning on closed captioning or subtitles, which is offered in real-time using speech recognition.
Accessing Google Meet From Gmail
If you are one of those who have had to work from home, I am sure you have participated in video conference calls. Also, the time you spend in your email will now increase, so won’t it be great if you can initiate your video calls right from your Gmail? It will surely save you the time of leaving your inbox, initiating a call, and getting back to the inbox.
Google makes it easy to start your Google Meet session right from Gmail. The following steps describe how to access Google Meet from your Gmail.
The first step is to get to your Gmail inbox. If you’re not already logged in to your Gmail, input your Gmail address, click Next and on the next page, input your password and click Next again. Note that access to Google Meet from Gmail is currently not available on Android. For now, you will have to use Google Meet from Gmail on your computer.
On the landing page of your Gmail inbox on your computer browser, check the left-hand side of the inbox. You should see an option pane; scroll down to see Meet among the options. If you do not see Meet, it means that the options pane on the left-hand side has been collapsed.
To expand it, click on the three parallel horizontal lines on the top left of the inbox, beside the Gmail envelope icon. The pane should expand, and you should be able to see Meet.
Under Meet, you will see two options: the first is Start a Meeting with a video icon beside it. Click on the option to start a Google Meet session. A new browser window will open to set up the Meet interface that will connect with your computer camera and microphone. Google Meet will request access to your camera and microphone. Click Allow to grant it access to both.
You’ll now see a video feed from your computer camera at the center of your Meet window. On the right of the video feed box, you will see Join now and Present. At the base of the video feed, three vertical dots will open more options if clicked.
You can click on it to change settings on your Meet. Also, by clicking on the video and mic icons at the bottom of the video feed, you can disable them if you do not want to join the video without any of them. Click Join now to go to invite other participants.
On the next page, against a background of your video feed, if your camera is enabled, a pop-out will show with the link which can be used to join the meeting. Click on Copy Link to copy and share the link with others to join the meeting. If the Add Others do not show, click on Meeting details at the bottom of the page to find the meeting link.
You have successfully set up your Google Meet session. At the bottom of the screen, you can turn on Live captions by clicking on Turn on Captions. If you need to share your screen or make any other presentation during the meeting, click on Present on the left bottom of the Google Meet page.
At the end of the meeting, if you want to leave or end the meeting, click on the red call icon on the middle bottom of the page to exit the meeting.
Google is doing its best to make Google Meet readily available to everyone. I believe this feature of accessing Google Meet from Gmail will soon be available on Mobile platforms.