Google Meet is the best alternative to Zoom as it is easy to use and has great features in its free version.
Zoom Google Meet impresses with its simplicity, security, and generous time limits. Here’s how to get started.
If you have been using the free version of Zoom but are looking for something that is also free but a bit simpler and with longer meeting times, then you, my friend, might be a good candidate to try Google Meet.
And if you haven’t been using Zoom but are looking to see what all the fuss is about, Google Meet is a good way to dip your toe in the water. After all, anyone you would like to chat with probably already has a Google account anyway.
You need to know the basics of using Google Meet: how to set up and join meetings, a look at some useful features, things like that. So put your face on it, turn on the camera and get ready for video chat.
ZOOM VERSUS MEET: What’s the difference?
Well, this gets a bit tricky depending on how demanding you are with your video conferencing solutions.
If you’re just looking for ease of use, a decent time limit, and as little friction as possible when it comes to getting a meeting off the ground, Google Meet is a great option.
Until the end of September, each video conference can be run for as long as you like, which sounds disgusting unless you have a long-distance relationship.
Starting in October, each meeting can last up to an hour, up from 40 minutes with the free version of Zoom. It’s also very easy to send scheduled meetings to a group of people via Google Calendar, and you can start impromptu meetings directly from Gmail. There is nothing easier than that.
Google has also been busy promoting Meet’s security features: no anonymous people, complex meeting codes, encryption in transit, no necessary plugins, and additional protection against phishing and account theft.
Zoom has recently fixed some of its well-publicized security holes, but your comfort level could be higher with Meet.
However, if you are looking for the most comprehensive set of features, the free version of Zoom easily wins with the ability to record meetings, private text chats between individual meeting members, meeting rooms, virtual whiteboard, hand raising, remote keyboard, and mouse sharing, fun virtual backgrounds, and tons of other features that you might never use at first but will appreciate later.
Get started with Google Meet
If you are using Meet on a computer via a web browser, which I recommend if you want to enjoy the full range of Google Meet features, just visit meet.google.com to get started.
Regardless of how you access Google Meet, your two main options to get started are to start a new meaning, or join an existing meeting.
Starting a new meeting
Despite how temptingly simple the New Meeting button seems in the browser version when you click on it, you can choose from one of three options:
- Get a meeting link to share
- Start an instant meeting
- Schedule in Google Calendar
If you ask me, the first two are out of order. “Get a meeting link to share” is like saying, “Hey, see you in 20 minutes. Everyone has a quick bite and let’s meet here at 1 pm.”
In this case, you get a URL to submit. Everyone puts it on at 1 PM and the meeting begins.
“Starting an instant meeting” is like saying, “Hey, I’m calling and I’m waiting for you. Let’s get going when I’m ready.” You will be provided with a meeting URL that you can share with anyone else you want to join, and they will appear in the meeting as soon as they click the URL and hit the Join Now button.
And finally, “Schedule in Google Calendar” is more or less what it sounds like. It is best used to schedule a meeting next Thursday and send it to a group of people via Google Calendar.
Now again, this is for the browser version. Your only option on your phone is to start an instant meeting and share the link with people – without scheduling.
Join a meeting
Joining a meeting ranges from incredibly simple to fairly easy. If your host is a reasonable human being and elegantly sends you a link to click, go ahead and you’re connected to the meeting.
If your host is a sociopath, it will provide you only the meeting code, which you will need to manually type in the “Enter a code or link” box for the browser version or the “Meeting code” button on the mobile version.
This is a shameless power move on the part of the meeting host and should be faced with equal force the next time he leads the meeting.
Plus a fun fact: you can keep your meeting URL and/or code to rejoin the meeting at any time in the future.
Do you want to have a permanent meeting every day of the week at 9 am? Just have everyone use the same URL or code every day.
While you’re in the meeting
Besides making clever jokes back and forth, there are a couple of things you should check out.
The captioning tool, which transcribes what is said in real-time, is an essential feature if you are hard of hearing. It is also useful if you are only entering a meeting from a noisy environment. Hover over the meeting with your mouse and click the “Turn Captions On” button to enable the feature.
On the mobile device, tap the main image and then tap the little “CC” icon in the upper right corner.
Another thing to check: in the browser by default, your video will be sent in standard definition (360p), just like the video you receive from others.
You can change this to a sharper 720p HD resolution by hovering over the meeting, clicking the three little dots in the lower right corner, selecting Settings, and on the Video tab, changing the send and receive resolutions to “High definition (720p) ”instead.
If you are using the phone, this setting cannot be changed, but I think the overall phone quality is pretty good.
If you want to add more people after your meeting has started, you can do so in the browser version by clicking the people search icon in the upper right corner and then selecting “Add people” to invite people from your contacts or by their email addresses.
You can also send chat messages to the group here. On mobile devices, tap on the little information icon in the upper right corner and you will see the meeting ID along with the ability to share it.
And finally, to change the appearance of the meeting when you are using the browser version, click on the three little dots in the lower right corner, select “Change layout” and select between Sidebar, Featured, and Tile modes.
That’s! You are now officially a beginner to intermediate Google Meet users. The sky is the limit!.